St. Joseph County fair officials and local equine enthusiasts are teaming-up to raise money for an additional show arena at the St. Joseph County Grange Fairgrounds in Centreville. The major fundraising drive will take place in May.
“We’re excited about the potential improvements and what it means for our fair’s viability and continual education for young and old at our facility,” stated Fairgrounds manager Bill Johnson. “The Fair Directors have a policy of having the money generated prior to starting any building project so this is our first challenge.”
Mike Fleetwood, a local horse trainer and 4-H leader, is working with Johnson and the fairgrounds as the Project Manager. Fleetwood has secured material donations from local businesses for the project. In addition, his experience showing horses in multiple venues provides the fairground leadership with the expertise needed to create an ideal environment for other equestrians.
The new horse show arena will be built just to the east of the existing arena. The new arena will position the fairgrounds as a draw to open horse shows, breed shows, and high school equestrian meets as horse show managers often look for facilities that have two arenas. One arena provides an ideal location for warm-ups and the second arena is the show arena. Having two (2) arenas also provides two (2) separate surfaces for the varied types of activities associated with the equine industry. In addition to the two (2) outside arenas, the fairgrounds also has an inside show arena. The facility has numerous multi-day horse shows with two Hundred (200) box stalls and picturesque camping facilities.
Clearly, being able to draw in more shows and larger shows supports the fairgrounds and the local economy.
“We are very excited in teaming up with our equine partners in a project which will make a giant economic impact to our entire community,” stated Johnson.
Fairground officials and local equestrians are planning various fundraisers and will be seeking donations. The additional arena will require an estimated $20,000 to complete. Specific donation levels have been designated with donors receiving recognition in the form of signage.
Anyone having questions or wish to donate to the project please contact Bill Johnson, (269) 467-8935 or Mike Fleetwood (269) 217-0484. Donation checks should be made payable to The St. Joseph County Grange Fair with the notation area labeled “Arena Fund.”
Source: News release from St. Joseph County Grange Fair