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Dream becomes reality with fairgrounds building

Dream becomes reality with fairgrounds building
Dream becomes reality with fairgrounds building
Harrison County Agricultural Society members, state fair offcials, Miss Indiana State Fair Tate Fritchley, 2015 Harrison County Fair Queen Shelby Blackerby and the Floyd County 4-H Fair Queen take part in the ribbon-cutting ceremony Sunday at the Talmage Windell Memorial Agriculture Building dedication. Photos by Ross Schulz

The most impressive feature of the newly completed Talmage Windell Memorial Agriculture Building at the Harrison County Fairgrounds in Corydon hits patrons in the face as soon as they open the doors: air conditioning.
‘We’re at the Harrison County Fair in July, and we’re not sweating,’ C. Todd Uhl, fair board president, said during a dedication and ribbon-cutting ceremony Sunday afternoon.
Sure, the building’s size and functionality is impressive, but it will, no doubt, be one of the most popular spots this week at the fair for its cool temperature in the middle of a hot July, especially Friday and Saturday when temperatures are expected to be the warmest of the summer.
Harrison County Agricultural Society members, county and state officials, 4-H and FAA members and other community members gathered Sunday to get a first glimpse inside the building during the grand-opening ceremony.
‘We are grateful for the generous donation from the Windell family; we are grateful for former fair board members, county government, (Harrison County) Community Foundation, efforts from (the late) Ron Simpson and Ann Lillpop, Carla Clunie’s efforts in writing the grants, other ag organizations like Extension services, Farm Bureau, FFA, 4-H, cattlemen, current fair board members and, of course, an abundance of dedicated volunteers,’ Uhl said before dedicating the building in the name of agriculture.
The 100-by-175-foot structure is the first thing fair attendees will see when they enter the fairgrounds’ main, east entrance. It was constructed under the management of Shireman Construction Inc. and architect Michell Timperman Ritz.
It was funded from a combination of sources, including the Rita Windell estate (Talmage Windell was a fair board members for many years and was owner-operator of the old Corydon Bus Line that ran between Corydon and New Albany), Harrison County Community Foundation and county government.
The old Merchants and Farm Bureau buildings were demolished to make room for the Windell building.
Adam Camm, an ag society board member who served on the building committee, said, since it was constructed in the flood plain, a few odd things may be seen throughout, such as electrical outlets six feet off the ground. The bathrooms have flood-proof doors, which will keep water out in a major flood event, he said.
Last year’s spring flood, which caused an evacuation of the horse barns on the fairgrounds’ property, would not have reached the inside of the Windell building, fair board member Tim Harmon said.
The facility also had to have one end open, with pull-down doors, because of flood-plain regulations. Insulated curtains have been put in place on the doors to help with heating and air conditioning.
A lectern for the facility was dedicated in memory of Simpson, who served as the ag society’s attorney. Uhl said Harrison County and the ag society lost a very good friend earlier this year. Simpson was instrumental in the fair and loved the FFA, he said.
‘He was also a teacher, loved education and loved kids,’ Uhl said, mentioning that a lectern would be the proper thing to honor Simpson.
‘No matter what’s going on in this building, wedding reception, Christmas party or educational function … Ron will be a part of it … He dedicated a great deal of time in our community. He had a special place in his heart for 4-H and FFA youth and truly was a friend to this fairgrounds. We’re grateful for the days Ron served us and the example he set and for the wisdom he shared.’
Uhl then led the attendees in a moment of silence.
Sunday’s event also included a proclamation of July 17 as Indiana Agriculture Appreciation Day from Gov. Mike Pence, read by Indiana State Fair board president Bill Leininger.
Leininger said it was pretty neat for the proclamation to be established in Harrison County.
The proclamation said Indiana has more than 107,000 agricultural jobs and sells 11.2 million ag products.
‘Indiana continues to be national and global leader in agriculture,’ it said. ‘Indiana has 60,000 farming operations, and 97 percent of those are family owned and operated,’ it continued. ‘ … Farmers’ work has been the backbone of the state for the past 200 years.’
Leininger also complimented Harrison County for its record of 157 consecutive fairs held at the fairgrounds.
‘That’s an accomplishment right there,’ he said.
‘It is amazing, that through the Civil War, two world wars, that our community saw fit not to skip even one year hosting the Harrison County Fair,’ Uhl said.
Harrison County Community Foundation board president Kevin Burch also spoke and said it’s organizations like the ag society, 4-H and the Windell family that make Harrison County a wonderful place to live.
Miss Indiana State Fair 2016 Tate Fritchley also spoke at the dedication.
The 4-H Color Guard performed, Ella Bennett sang the national anthem and 4-H member Ariel Camm led the pledge of allegiance.
Fair-goers this week will find merchant booths set up in the new building.