The Hancock County Fair Board already has the dates set for next year’s county fair! The 2024 Hancock County Fair will be held Wednesday, July 31st- Saturday, August 3rd. “There’s a possibility we may even stretch it out a little bit longer, earlier in the week as well,” Board Vice President Scott Basham said.
If the decision is made to add an extra day, Basham said that the start date would then be Tuesday, July 30th rather than Wednesday. “We’re making some plans on that and trying to work around the schedules,” he said. “The opportunity is there, because the ride company will be there anyway. We’ve already partnered-up with the same ride company for next year – Casey Rides. They’re generally here all week, so we thought we might try for beginning earlier in the week. I can’t promise anything yet, but it’s very possible.”
Basham said they have already had some meetings with county officials such as EMS and the Farm Bureau group to work on better ways to get people in and out of the fair next year. “We can’t have traffic backed-up all the way to Bill’s IGA or down to the courthouse again,” he said. “As a group, we’ve got to work together to do better from a safety perspective. One of our biggest goals is to get people in and out of there better, quicker and safer.
We’re brainstorming and we grouped with a couple of the county magistrates, Hancock County EMS Director Kyle Veach, state police and Kyle Culbreth with KY Farm Bureau just trying to come up with some ideas. We’re definitely going to do better next year.”
Hancock County Fair Board President Greg Wettstain has been working with local land owners on a separate exit. It will be exit-only for traffic leaving the fair, on the backside of the fairgrounds that joins state property. The road would allow for fair goers to exit out onto 2181. Wettstain is working on the details now of building the road for that exit. “Getting that back gate as an exit,” Basham said, “it will be a tremendous help because it will allow for people who park there to go out that way rather than having to come all the way back around to the front.”
“We’re already planning for our demolition derby back on Saturday night of next year,” Basham said. “We’re planning some of our horse pulls and events like that, just like we’ve had in the previous years. We’re hoping we’ll get our go-kart racing back on Friday night, and then we’re looking for some other different events for Thursday night – tractor pulls, garden tractor pulls, or antique tractor pulls, etc. A lot of people have to work on Friday, so it’s hard to get people to drive long ways to come and participate in these events on Thursday night.”
Basham said the fairgrounds are looking good and that there will definitely be extra parking for the 2024 fair. “Down below the demolition derby arena we had a giant hole, and we couldn’t park down there,” he said, “but, Envision Contracting has gotten the job to tear the mound out on Hwy 60 by Vastwood Park for the expansion, and all of the rock that’s coming out of there, they are hauling load after load and we’re really making ground on getting some extra parking. That is going to be a big help in making more room in that area. It makes more room for the derby cars to park, and when that happens it’ll give us more room to park personal cars.”
The fair board received significant donations from Domtar and Commonwealth Tooled Products to go toward building new restrooms at the fairgrounds. “We’re still working on that,” Basham said. “We’re still looking for some donations on that to help us out with it. We’re hoping we can get it done this year. We just have to take a step at a time. We’re hoping that they’re up and working for the 2024 fair. I’m not going to promise anything.
We are hoping that when we get our new bathrooms, we could make them sturdier than what we have right now, and if there is a chance of a storm that we could include a roof for people to get under. We’re constantly trying to come up with different improvements and it’s just a work in progress.”
“I can’t comment on admission prices right now,” he said. “We were very fortunate that we didn’t have to raise our prices in 2023, and a lot of our local, surrounding fairs did raise their prices. It’s not our intent to raise prices to make money; our intent is that we want people to come and enjoy the fair and to try to be as economically feasible as possible.”
Awards for 2023
“We have our annual Kentucky Association Fairs & Horse Shows (KAFS) Exhibition in February (2024) at the Galt House in Louisville,” Basham added. “Hopefully we can pick up another award or two.”
By Jennifer Wimmer