Aiming to increase revenue and offer campers a unique opportunity inside the Hillsboro city limits, the Highland County Fair Board is introducing two new camping events this year.
Actually, the first one on the calendar is completely new, and the second one had a trial run a year ago.
From July 3-7 the fair board will offer a Fourth of July Campout, and from Oct. 11-13 it will offer a Halloween Campout. The first campout will coincide with Hillsboro’s Festival of the Bells and the fireworks the Lewis Financial Group, city and several others have helped staged from the fairgrounds in recent years.
Fair board member Wayne Bowman said the campouts are intended to create extra income for the fairgrounds.
“We’re just looking to see if there’s any interest,” Bowman said. “We’re going to do it a couple times, and if there’s interest we’ll maybe do it a couple more times. That way people don’t have to go far. They can camp right here in town.”
New fair board president Mark Baldwin said the Halloween Campout was held for the first time a year ago and that 27 or 28 camper units were on the fairgrounds for the event.
He said the fairgrounds has around 270 campsites, including about 200 with water and electric hookups.
There will be children and adult activities at both campouts. While Bowman and Baldwin said those activities are still being worked out, James Flowers, a fair board member helping oversee the campouts, said that last year the Halloween Campout included costume contests for kids and adults, pumpkin painting/carving contests, music in one of the barns, and trick or treating. He said that this year a campsite decorating contest could be added.
Flowers said that at the Fourth of July Campout, campers will “have a front row seat” for the city’s annual fireworks display since it is set off from the fairgrounds. He said that other things being considered include cornhole, wiffle ball, erecting a couple basketball hoops, and possibly a slip-and-slide on one of the hillsides.
“We’re not exactly sure what kind of activities we well have, but we’re looking at some different things, and it should be a good time,” Flowers said.
Bowman said the fair board wanted to let people know now about the campouts because campers sometimes make reservations six months in advance at Rocky Fork, Paint Creek and other state parks.
He also said that while the first campout is centered around the Fourth of July, the fair board is trying not to interfere with the Festival of the Bells, scheduled this year for July 4-6.
“We’re not for sure what all were doing to yet,” Bowman said. “We haven’t finalized much except the dates, and we don’t want to take away from the Festival of the Bells and the things they have out there.”
For the Fourth of July Campout, the fair board is offering a campsite with water and electric hookups for four nights for $150. For the Halloween Campout, the cost for a campsite with water and electric for two nights will be $75.
Anyone wanting more information can call 937-393-9975.
In another matter, Baldwin said the fair board has not received any confirmation yet on its proposal to eliminate the first Saturday of the fair, currently scheduled to run Aug. 31 to Sept. 7. He said a fair managers conference is scheduled for this weekend and that the fair board should hear something definite in the next couple weeks.
Fair board members said in November that they were considering eliminating the fair’s first Saturday on Aug. 31, citing reasons ranging from admission income to carnival ride schedules.
Reach Jeff Gilliland at 937-402-2522.