November 16, 2023 at 1:32 p.m.

Frandsen meets with County Fair Board again about relocation desire


By MATT SILVER | Comments: 0 | Leave a comment
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The Chisago County Fairboard met November 13 at the Chisago Lake Township hall.  

The meeting opened with the board hearing from Rush City area banker and businessman Dennis Frandsen.  Frandsen had approached the board over the summer about potentially relocating the site of the Chisago County Fair.  The fair is currently in Rush City. Frandsen would like to see the fair centrally located and has suggested Hay Days grounds owned by Sno Barons, on the edge of Almelund. Hay Days runs after the fair schedule.

Frandsen explained he had sent postcards out in late summer asking people’s opinions on the fair location.  The info gathered off the cards (which were sent to postal addresses in Rush City) was 16.72 percent opposed to the fair moving.  4.09 percent were in favor of the fair moving and 79.19 percent were either neutral or did not respond.  

Frandsen went on to say there are 58,000 residents in Chisago County and he feels the fair is not serving all of Chisago County being in the northern-most part of the county.

Frandsen told the board he has found a place that has interest in hosting the fair,  in the Sno Barons location. He went on to say the traditional agricultural sector of Chisago county is declining and the Sno Barons land has buildings that can support fair needs. 

Fair Board member Adam Wojcik told Frandsen neither he nor the board has received one call or had one conversation with anyone in favor of the fair moving.  Wojcik said the board would love to hear from those individuals.

A few people agreed that Frandsen’s comment about not being centrally located didn’t hold water and most referenced the location of the Minnesota State Fair.

Wojcik told Frandsen the fair is not trying to become the Polk County Fair, rather its main purpose is to promote agriculture and farming to youth and visitors.

Wojcik asked the board and the audience if any representatives from Sno Barons had reached out to them about the matter.  Nobody has been contacted.  Frandsen told the board he spoke multiple times with Sno Barons and they are willing to have a conversation.  Wojcik said the board would be interested in sitting down to have a conversation, “But they must not be too interested if they haven’t reached out to us,” he added.

Wojcik told Frandsen the county fair currently has 18 buildings on site and eight of those house animals.  Wojcik, who said he enjoys Hay Days and their grounds, said they have zero buildings that could accommodate animals.

Board member Jen Penzenstadler said by Chisago County Agricultural Society not owning property, it opens up some potential problems such as rental costs and lease issues. Penzenstadler pointed out Ramsey County Fair has dealt with this problem and was without a location for the last three years, thus the fair has been canceled, she stated.

A motion from the crowd to end the debate was passed and the group agreed to have a conversation with Sno Barons if Frandsen sets it up.

This summer, Frandsen made an offer to the Chisago County Fair of $1 million to relocate the fair to a central  part of the county.  Frandsen has stressed he will give the fairgrounds to Rush City for future tax -generating development.  

Frandsen also recently proposed a $500,000 donation to the Chisago County Historical Society for expansion of the facility in Lindstrom. The Historical Society could  move their existing County Fair exhibits to Lindstrom. 

The Chisago County Fair board provided a statement after the meeting, saying, 

“After much discussion with Dennis Frandsen on his thoughts of what is in the best interest of Chisago County and the fair, the Chisago County Agricultural Society voted unanimously again to turn down Mr. Frandsen’s offer to purchase the fairgrounds.” The board continued, “Our mission is to educate, entertain and promote agriculture, the arts, horticulture and other interests of the residents of Chisago County through the presentation of the Chisago County Fair.  The fair has a long history of bringing generations of this county together and the members of the Ag Society, along with countless volunteers, will continue this historical tradition in Rush City.  Our work has already begun.”

Chisago County Fair will be held July 18-21, 2024. 


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