• 77°

Butler County Fair canceled this year

It’s official: there will be no colorful art exhibits, prize-winning canned goods or creative civic club booths to be seen next week at the Butler County Kiwanis Fair Grounds.

For the first time in the 51-year history of the Butler County Kiwanis Fair, the annual event, sponsored by the Greenville Kiwanis Club, has been called off – and you can blame it on Ivan.

&uot;We decided to cancel the fair [scheduled for Sept. 28-0ct. 2] this year due to Hurricane Ivan and all the clean up and work required to get our lives back to normal,&uot; said James Peavey, president and manager of the Butler County Fair Association.

However, Peavey and other fair organizers believe the fair exhibit hall is currently being put to another, more important use – helping to provide relief for Ivan’s local victims..

The county fairgrounds, it seems, have become relief central for many storm-weary citizens.

In fact, if you stop by the fairgrounds this week, you will likely see guardsmen in fatigues ready to load ice and bottled water in your vehicle at no charge.

&uot;Right now our exhibit building is being used, more or less, as headquarters for the local relief effort. The kitchen is being used to prepare meals for the relief workers who have come in to help us. And the National Guard is using the building as the site for their free ice distribution to those without power,&uot; Peavey explained, adding, &uot;I feel all this is more important than our fair plans.&uot;

Peavey said he and Richard Branum, the association’s secretary-treasurer, fully discussed the matter before making the decision.

&uot;It basically came down to me being the one to say, ‘Let’s cancel it this year.’ I truly regret having to do this, because I know there are so many people out there who look forward to the fair every year.

&uot;However, we also do not want to interfere in any way with all the good the workers are doing through these relief efforts,&uot; Peavey stressed.

While no official county fair will be held this year, there is still a possibility the city of Greenville may see a fall carnival coming its way. Peavey, who said he has made numerous attempts to contact the carnival company, believes it is &uot;very possible&uot; the carnival workers will still want to come and set up at the fairgrounds as planned.