Commissioners support Fair Board in decision concerning craft fair

Commissioners support Fair Board in decision concerning craft fair


James Tilson

Staff writer



MANTI — The Sanpete County Commission is supporting the Fair Board’s decision to run its own craft fair during the Mormon Miracle Pageant in space on the fairgrounds it has rented out to the Ephraim Co-op for nearly 20 years.

“We let them run the show how they want to,” Sanpete County Commission Chairwoman Claudia Jarrett told Gloria Winter, financial chairwoman for the Ephraim Co-op,

Jarrett invited Winter to sit in at the March 7 meeting because she knew that Fair Board Chairman Mike Bennett would also be in attendance, and she hoped to “clear the air” in light of a letter that Co-op leaders had written to the commission.

Bennett said the issue had been simmering for quite a few years, but an altercation last summer had been the breaking point. According to Bennett, one of the vendors at the crafts fair instigated a “big fight,” which led to police and ambulances arriving.

Based on the incident and on problems with the decorum of  some vendors, other vendors had approached the Fair Board and asked it to take over the crafts fair, which has been held in the Exhibit Building on the fairgrounds since the 1990s.

The board discussed the issue, and after a vote, decided to run the crafts fair itself. The board informed the co-op through a letter.

“We thought the letter was friendly,” Bennett said. “We’re not trying to make any enemies. We’re not trying to step on any toes.”

Even though there is money to be made from the fair, money was not the main reason, Bennett said. The main factors, he said, were vendor quality and the incident last summer.

“It’s going to be run differently,” he said. “It’s gone downhill in the last few years.”

Winter addressed the incident from last summer. According to her information, the person who incited the altercation was a mother defending her daughter. The mother, who was a Fair Board member as well as a Co-op member, became “very vocal,” Winters said.

If any other members of the Co-op had been present, they would have tried to stop the incident, she said. But they didn’t know about it until later.

Winters said she had not heard about vendors wanting to change management of the crafts fair. In response to a question from Jarrett about the quality of the vendors, Winters replied that the vendors are still selling, but they are selling junk, “because people buy it.”

“We can’t control what vendors bring in,” Winter said.

Bennett said he had no complaint about the actual crafts. “The quality of the crafts is great,” Bennett said. “It’s the quality of the vendors that has slipped.”

Jarrett finally said that the commission would stand behind the decision of the Fair Board.

“We have given responsibility for scheduling and everything to do with the fair to the Fair Board,” Jarrett said. “We don’t want to overstep our bounds.”