The residents of Coos County Oregon are proud of its traditions and its past. While many communities are racing to keep up with the latest trends, the residents of Coos County still encourage their kids to raise livestock, ride horses, and to enjoy one of the last remaining old fashioned county fairs. We still believe there is tremendous value in teaching our children about life and responsibility. The Coos County Fair & Rodeo has been a tradition since 1912, providing the children of Coos County with a venue to showcase their animals and the skills they have learned with programs like the pre-4-H Cloverbuds, Little-People Showmanship Events, 4-H, FFA and Open Class. Toward the end of the annual fair, many of the prize-winning animals are sold at auction and proceeds are often used to pay for college tuition. Many of these programs and tradition have existed in Coos County for as long as most grandparents can remember.
Several years ago, the livestock barn that sheltered the kids and their animals during the week of fair was deemed unsafe. The Fair Board at the time had the livestock barn torn down. They made the decision to rent tents during the annual fair, until a new barn was built. Unfortunately, a replacement barn was never built. The current Fair Board must continue to rent tents. The cost of renting tents for the 2018 fair was nearly $29,000. The cost increases approximately $1,500 every year. This burden of renting tents every year is a serious drain on the annual financial resources of the Coos County Fair Department, and it is becoming unsustainable.
The current Fair Board feels strongly that the 4-H, FFA and Open Class livestock programs are fundamental to maintaining the values and traditions of our community. The Coos County Fair & Rodeo has supported the Coos Youth Auction Committee for many years, by providing space to show and auction the livestock. The fair does not charge the auction committee to use the facilities. This year the Coos Youth Auction Committee raised almost $500,000 at the fair. The majority of buyers are predominantly local residents and businesses. This is another indicator of how important these programs are to the community.
The Coos County Fair Alliance, Inc. along with the Coos County Fair & Rodeo Board is embarking on a project to build a new 32,682 square foot livestock barn. A local industrial contractor collaborated with the Fair Board to design a building that is extremely cost effective and very low maintenance. The dimensions of the proposed barn will provide 8,000 square feet more than the tents we rented during the 2018 fair. The number of animals entered in the annual County fair have increased for the past two years. The new livestock barn will provide us with room to grow, without needing to make major modifications to the current layout of the fairgrounds.
The livestock barn has been designed as a wooden pole barn. Wooden structures weather better than steel structures in the Western Oregon coastal climate. The expansive roof and open sides will provide plenty of shade for people and their livestock, while allowing the afternoon breeze to flow through. The design includes lighting and the height of the center section is sixteen feet. The livestock barn will be located in the area that the tents have been placed. The footprint of the new livestock barn is very similar to the overall footprint of the tents we used in 2018.
We still believe there is tremendous value in teaching our children about life and responsibility, and providing the children of Coos County with a venue to showcase their animals and the skills they have learned.