Fairgrounds entering a new stage


Completion of a permanent stage, tent, and dance floor will be used extensively during the Crook County Fair and is expected to encourage new use from other entities

For years, when it came time to put on shows during the Crook County Fair, planners to had rent a stage, tent, and dance floor.

Not only did the structures belong to someone else and cause the fairgrounds to incur an annual cost, they were not optimal for hosting musical and dance performances. The stage, which was pieced together, tended to shift on the grass surface beneath it.

This year, the rental will not be necessary. After seven years of considering construction of a permanent stage, the fairgrounds staff and board finally pulled the trigger, completing the project earlier this year.by: JASON CHENEY/CENTRAL OREGONIAN - Crook County Fairgrounds Manager Casey Daly hopes the new structure will attract more events to the facility.

The new concrete stage, accompanying timber frame, tent, and dance floor was made possible in part by a considerable rebate from a lighting purchase for the indoor arena.

“That money was put aside and identified to do a stage someday,” said Fairground Manager Casey Daly. “In addition, Facebook awarded us some grant money. We combined those monies and started a permanent stage committee that had several people on it.”

The committee included fair board chair Gail Merritt, board member Tim Ray who Daly said played a large role in the project, and John Hite and Yancey Fall of local band Countryfied.

“We took a road trip around Madras, Redmond, and looked at all of the public stages there were out there,” Daly said.

Following the research, the group settled on building a 30x30-foot concrete stage. Helping them with the design and construction of the project was local resident Lance Romine.

“He is a pretty creative guy,” Daly said. “We talked about what kinds of things we already had, what we did with them, and what it could possibly be for the future.”

As it turned out, the fairgrounds staff owned an old pavilion tent with an aluminum frame. Romine had envisioned a timber frame that utilized some of the tent pieces, and later turned that vision into a reality.

Daly hopes that the new stage will not only provide a more suitable location for performances during the fair, but entice more groups to consider the fairgrounds for events.

“What we have tried to do is encourage the actual events that are here annually to utilize it,” he said. “In addition to the fair, we have gotten a lot of interest from some of the larger businesses in town that are interested in holding their company picnics or family days out here.”

Thanks to the Facebook grant, savings from a prior project, and Romine donating his labor, the fairgrounds staff and board managed to complete what Daly called a pretty expensive little venture.

“We think, in the long term, it’s going to be a pretty big hit,” he said. “We are very excited. We think it is a great addition to the fairgrounds.”