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Fairgrounds are rebuilt in time for Wadena County Fair next week

Evan Lachowitzer, a lineman with the City of Wadena's Electric and Water Department, works on the electrical system Tuesday at the Wadena County Fairgrounds.

Following a feverishly paced construction schedule, most of the buildings on the Wadena County Fairgrounds that the 2010 tornado destroyed will be rebuilt in time for the county fair next week.

Wadena County Ag Society President Mike Olson said about half a dozen buildings are completely new for this year, including a beer garden, commercial building, band shell and sheriff’s building. Much of the work for the commercial building and grandstand-- the two most difficult buildings to build because of the cinder blocks used to construct them-- was completed in the span of about a month, Olson said.

“It’s been a lot of work,” he said.

Both Olson and Ag Society Vice President Bryon Lalum said the frequent rain the area has received so far this year posed a challenge to the construction workers.

“All the rain we’ve had really put a crimp on construction,” he said. “The guys doing the grandstand have been out there a lot in the rain.”

The grounds have been torn up and relayered just to improve drainage, Lalum said.    

Olson said the building he’s most excited about is the new grandstand. Modeled after the grandstand in Perham, the fact that it’s composed mostly of concrete will make the building maintenance free, Olson said.    

The only building left to put up after the fair is the 75 by 100 foot open-air show area, Olson said. All construction needs to be completed by the end of this year to satisfy FEMA grant requirements, he said. Olson gave special thanks to the Wadena County Commissioners, volunteers and construction workers for their support of the fair.