In April 21 IssueBy Derek AaronTimes Journal Editor
With the Russell County Jaycees Fair right around the corner the new steel 2,300 seat grandstand is in the process of being constructed, according to Jaycees President Dwight Richards.
Veteran's Fairgrounds in Russell Springs has been without a grandstand for over a year as the century-old 1,000 wooden grandstand was taken down two years ago due to safety concerns.
Richards said Pappas Construction Company Inc. the contractor constructing the new grandstand, which used to stand at the Kentucky Horse Park, should be completed by the end of April.
Whenever the World Equestrian Games came to Kentucky last fall, the horse park needed room for larger grandstands and facilities and many of the grandstands there were replaced. As a matter of fact, the nearly 30-row grandstand the Jaycees were able to purchase had only been standing at the horse park for two years before it was taken down, Richards said.
"This is one of the greatest things we've had happen to us in several years," Richards said. "Our main concern is the safety of the people and this will help in that."
With help of the fiscal court last summer, the Jaycees were able to attain the grandstand from Surplus Properties.
The court purchased the grandstand and, in turn, the Jaycees gave a check for that amount to the court to cover that cost.
"We really want to thank the fiscal court who helped us with the transfer of funds," Richards said.
Back at the fairgrounds, Pappas, based out of Monroe, Tenn., is continuously working on the project to finish on time.
"We've been on and off this project for a month but really got kicked in last week," said John Pappas, the owner of the company. "The Jaycees have been excellent to work with."
He said the grandstand would look complete at the end of this week and next week will consist of detailing next week.
Pappas, who was the lowest bidder for construction, said this size grandstand is impressive for a town the size of Russell Springs.
"40,000 people that live in a town probably get something like this," he said. "Plus they got a roof on it and most of them don't get a roof."
Pappas, who's been in the business 15 years, said his construction company builds stadiums all over the country.
"This is all we do," he said. The company built the Tulane University Green Wave baseball facility, a 60 ft. structure with a roof on it whereas the Jaycees' grandstand is 40 ft. in height.
While the rain and bad weather has slowed work a bit, Pappas said his men have worked right through the rain many days and even on weekends in order to complete the structure.
Pappas credited Mark Weston with the preparatory work at the site as well as the Jaycees, who have worked well alongside his company.
Richards said the grandstand will be fully complete by the time the fair begins on Saturday, June 4.
"We have a full schedule again this year," Richards said. "The schedule is going to look a lot like last year's with some additions."
The fair will wrap up on Saturday, June 11, Richards said. The fair will again have an $8 gate for each night except for the final Friday and Saturday night when the gate will be $10 per person.
"We're one of the last county fairs in the state to offer the $8 gate," he said. "With the economy the way it has been we're lucky to still offer the $8 gate for those nights."
Popular events like the small and big car demolition derbies, KTPA truck and tractor pulls, beauty and baby pageants, rodeo, cage fighting featuring local talent, OVW wrestling, mud bogs, Belle City Midway and more will highlight the event once again, according to Richards.
The full schedule of events can be seen on the Jaycees' website at www.russellcountyjaycees.com
Robbie Morgan will again be the fair's manager this year and he can be contacted at 270-866-0418.
There will also be a Fair Food Stands Auction on April 30 at noon in the grove. There will be eight stands serving food this year. To be auctioned off that day are two general food stands and five specialties stands, one stand is still under previous contract.