From WILL - News Local/State -

Festival at Macon Co. Fairgrounds Not Quite a County Fair

The event opening Tuesday night at the Macon County Fairgrounds in Decatur is being called The Macon County Fairgrounds Festival, not a county fair.

The cash-strapped Macon County Fair board decided now to hold a full county fair this year, as it tries to reduce a nearly $300,000 deficit.

Fair board treasurer Teresa Wilson says the Fairgrounds Festival leaves out the agricultural and livestock competitions that are a traditional part of county fairs. She says the cost of the premiums, or prizes to winners, create higher out-of-pocket expenses than any other event at the fair.

"We’ve heard from some of the livestock people who are disappointed that we are not having those competitions", said Wilson. "But everybody’s so far been pretty understanding. And we don’t want to go into the point where we’re making a promise we’re going to pay you premiums again, when we don’t have the funds to pay those out."

In fact, the Macon County Fair still owes premiums from last year's county fair, according to the Associated Press.

Wilson says a lot of the fair's deficit is due to the cost of needed renovations at facilities at the county fairgrounds. For instance, she says the fair spent $150,000 just to renovate the fairgrounds grandstand.

Wilson says the this week's Macon County Fairgrounds Festival includes a carnival, live music, go-kart racing, the Adorable Baby contest and the return of the demolition derby after a three-year absence. Some of the performers are appearing for free. She says they hope the festival can make a profit that they can use to reduce their deficit.

The Macon County Fairgrounds Festival opens Tuesday night, June 10th, and, runs through Sunday, June 15th.

(Additional reporting by The Associated Press)