By Conrad Dudderar
EL RENO – It’s official.
There will be a carnival at this year’s Canadian County Fair.
The 67th annual event is set Aug. 23-29 at the brand-new Canadian County Expo & Event Center.
The new $15.2 million multi-purpose fairgrounds’ complex is expected to be ready to occupy in June as preparations are made to present this year’s county fair at a new venue.
Canadian County Commissioners, at their weekly meeting March 8, approved an agreement with Great Plains Amusement of Rush Springs to present the 2021 carnival.
“We’re just happy to hear they made it through the pandemic,” said Nathan Smith, the director and marketing manager for the Canadian County Expo & Event Center.
Some carnival companies went out of businesses or reduced operations after so many festivals and fairs were canceled due to COVID-19.
But Great Plains Amusement will make sure the carnival returns to Canadian County’s annual fair – for the first time since August 2019. There was no carnival in 2020 when the fair was scaled back to only youth livestock events due to virus-related restrictions.
Great Plains Amusement previously had the same agreement with the Canadian County Free Fair Board to present the carnival.
“The agreement gives the free fair a split of the revenue that they generate,” Smith said.
Construction is ahead of schedule on the Canadian County Expo & Event Center, being built on a 50-acre site at Jensen and Alfadale roads just south of Interstate 40 near El Reno.
Smith, along with county fair board secretary Brad Tipton, will move into their new offices in June and the facility will start hosting events in early July.
Before any of that can happen, county officials must ensure the Internet and phones are working.
As such, county commissioners have signed an agreement with Dobson Communications to install new internet service at the expo center.
“It’s not distribution of IT (information technology) throughout the facility, it’s literally the fiber line that runs into the building so that we can actually have internet service and phones lines out there,” Smith explained.
The five-year agreement, with an annual renewal option, is for $1,030 per month.
“That’s the least expensive we were able to find,” Smith advised commissioners. “The next one up was double the cost.”
THIS AND THAT …
In other business at their March 8th meeting, Canadian County Commissioners approved:
• An agreement between Infotech and the Canadian County Clerk to allow online bid submissions. The cost is $3,750 per year for up to 25 solicitations. The Oklahoma Department of Transportation has offered online bid solicitation since the late ‘90s, District 3 County Commissioner Jack Stewart said.
• An agreement between Oklahoma County and Canadian County for maintenance of County Line Road between NW 206th and NW 248th in the northeast corner of Canadian County.
• A resolution to sell a 2008 John Deere motor grader from District 1 to the City of El Reno.
• An agreement with Ellis County to utilize bed space at the Ellis County Jail to house Canadian County prisoners. This was needed when inmates had to be moved after El Reno’s recent water service outage.
Undersheriff Kevin Ward presented the weekly county jail report showing 225 inmates in custody, with 179 in-house and 46 in other counties.