Catanzarite backs out of managing fair’s beer tent due to staff shortage

By Kyle Shaner - [email protected]

SIDNEY – The Shelby County Fair Board will need to manage the beer tent at this year’s fair as Rocco Catanzarite said staffing shortages would prevent him from doing so.

Board member Jason Howell reported during Wednesday’s monthly board meeting that Catanzarite, from Murphy’s Craftbar + Kitchen, no longer would be able to provide the required workers as he previously committed to doing.

“Rocco did back out of the managing, but he is still sponsoring,” Howell said.

The plan was to have Catanzarite’s crew stock and open the beer tent each day, with the board also providing some bartenders. Now the board will have to manage all the work in the beer tent, which is scheduled to be open from 4 to 11 p.m. daily during the fair.

Catanzarite still will supply beer for the fair, offering beer for 10% above his cost, which Howell said was a good rate. There will be six or seven beer varieties including a couple craft beers. Catanzarite also will supply coolers and signage.

The board now is in charge of getting a trailer to keep beer cold, costing $200, and covering insurance, which is $1,200.

To account for the extra time needed to manage the beer tent, Howell said, board members will have to help and parents of Junior Fair exhibitors could be asked to volunteer.

Treasurer Eugene Schulze said each can of beer will have to be accounted for as the state will audit the fair’s beer distribution.

“We’ve got to have exact counts,” Schulze said. “I’m sorry, guys, but there can’t be no free beers. Or it’s coming out of somebody’s pocket because the book’s got to come out. Cans and money, every night, got to balance.”

Liquor permits have been submitted for beer sales, and pub tables are ready for the beer tent.

In other news, the board received quotes from Lima-based Signs Ohio for an 8 foot by 6 foot digital sign and a 10 foot by 8 foot digital sign, which would be attached to the horse barn near Fair Road. No other companies that were contacted submitted quotes, President Eric Garber said.

The quote for the smaller sign was $24,146 while the quote for the larger sign was $34,685. Both options come with a six-year warranty.

Carol Pierce, who handles advertising for the board, said advertisements could be sold to help the board make money from the sign. The sign could hold up to 20 advertisements, which would rotate every two minutes.

Pierce suggested the board could sell each advertisement for approximately $300 to $400 a month, stating the proximity to Sidney Middle School made it a desirable location. If all 20 spots were sold for $300, the board would make $6,000 a month, meaning the larger sign could be paid for in less than six months.

Asked for her recommendation, Pierce said she thought the board should go with the larger sign as it would provide a clearer picture, which would appeal to advertisers.

The board approved purchasing the 10 foot by 8 foot sign. Part of the $34,685 cost will be paid for from approximately $8,000 the board still has from donations for memorials.

The board discussed camping for board members during the week of the fair. In recent years board members were able to camp for a discounted rate of $100 for the week. The board voted to make camping for board members and the 4-H educator free this year, a move that five board members opposed.

Spring Creek Corp. offered to sell concrete blocks, which typically sell for $70, to the board for $25. The board needs 20 to 25 blocks for the grandstand.

“This is to truly make the front of that look nice at the grandstand when you’re sitting in there,” Garber said.

The board approved spending up to $1,000 to purchase the blocks.

Shelby County Maintenance Supervisor Chris Roediger said the Octagon Building windows and soffit are being repaired, damage that was caused by high winds in November, as the insurance process is now complete.

Work is being done on the fairgrounds’ storm and sewer project, which should be completed in the fall, Roediger said.

Junior Fair board member Morgan Meyer said there are 790 exhibitors for this year’s Junior Fair with 2,671 entries.

Spots in the merchants hall for the 2021 fair are fully booked, and there is a waiting list in the event any spots would become open.

Garber asked board members to come to the fairgrounds when they have time to help prepare for the fair.

Board member Tim Everett said he needs volunteers to help watch the Fine Arts Building during the fair.

Two doors have been installed in the horse barn, and one was installed in the Beige Building.

Memberships must be purchased by July 24, the Saturday before the fair begins, in order to vote in the 2021 fair board election.

Fair books are in and are ready for distribution.

Garber said he approved a $500 sponsorship of the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Shelby & Darke County’s Duck Derby.

By Kyle Shaner

[email protected]

Reach the writer at [email protected] or 937-538-4824.

Reach the writer at [email protected] or 937-538-4824.