Thanks to a group of local residents who have worked tirelessly to raise funds, the fair's education building, which has been compared to an oven, has a new air conditioning system up and running.
For over a year, the Sharp County Extension Homemakers and the Sharp County Master Gardeners held various fundraisers to pay the cost of the system--and on July 6, the switch was flipped activating the new system.
The Air for the Fair project began in January 2011 and received great community support.
Donna Henneke, of Folsom, Calif. was present for the switch throwing ceremony. Henneke, who lived in the area for 18 years and was a former extension homemaker, said this has always been a dream of hers.
She was also present in the early 1990s for the groundbreaking of the building, and said it was a proud moment to see the building finally air conditioned.
May 10, the largest donation was received when Nelson Gatewood, Quartermaster of the Highland VFW Post 472, presented a $10,000 check to the Air for the Fair Project.
The donation provided the majority of the funding for the project.
Numerous clubs in the area also assisted with donations to the project, including Modern Woodman of America, Renee Clay-Circle and other local citizens, as well as First National Banking Company.
The project has also been awarded grants from Walmart and the Arkansas Community Foundation.
Bernadette Freigy, Air for the Fair Treasurer, said, "Because of all these donations, the goal of heating and air conditioning the education building is finally a reality."
Friegy explained, since the project will also include heating, the building will be available for use during the winter months. The system was completed by Richard's Heating and Cooling in Highland.
During the stifling heat, residents can enjoy the exhibits in the building without being rushed through due to the temperature inside.
The group said it was very thankful for the generosity of the community in making the project a reality, and looks forward to seeing everyone at the Sharp County Fair July 23-28.