The Columbus County Fair now owns the fairgrounds it has called home for years.
Rep. Brenden Jones (R-Tabor City) brokered the deal between the Department of Corrections, which has owned the property since at least the 1930s, when it was a prison work camp. It has variously been used by the prison system and Department of Transportation through years.
“When I found out they had been renting the property, I knew something had to be done,” Jones said.
Having the property donated to the fair committee, rather than Columbus County, required some additional work and research, Jones said. The move was approved at a recent Council of State meeting.
“Since it was going to a 501c3, not a local government, it required some different action than we would use in the legislature,” Jones said. “I’m just glad we could make this happen.”
Other agricultural fairs have run into roadblocks in recent years when property owners became concerned with liability and wear and tear. The most recent fair to shut down this year was the Cape Fear Fair in New Hanover County, which had used property near Wilmington International Airport for years.
The fair committee can now expand and improve, Jones said, and as long as the property is used as a fairgrounds, it remains the property of the fair committee.
“This is a big benefit to Columbus County,” Jones said “Our fair brings a lot of people together each year, and this way it can get even bigger and better. I appreciate the assistance of everyone involved in making this happen.”