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From one fair to another

An aerial view of the Wadena Fairgrounds after the June 17 tornado. Photos by Brian Hansel/Wadena Pioneer Journal1 / 2
A ground view of the demolished Wadena fair. EOT Fair officials have been in close contact with Wadena Fair representatives to help resurrecting the neighboring county's annual event that takes place this week. Photos by Brian Hansel/Wadena Pioneer Journal2 / 2

After a long season of hard work in preparation for the 100th EOT County Fair, which ended Sunday, EOT officials immediately began looking to make the next fair as successful as they could, with little time to spare.

Not the next EOT Fair a year from now, Wadena's fair, which begins Thursday and runs through Saturday this week.

"They are coming a long way over there. Things are looking better and coming along decently," said EOT Fair organizer, Diane Sazama. "We have been the biggest county group to help them out in their time of need."

Sazama is referring to the assistance the EOT Fair is giving the Wadena County Fair as a result of the June 17 tornado that tore Wadena apart.

An equivalent of five or six flatbed semitrailer loads have been shipped to Wadena from Perham. The trucks have hauled everything from fences, posts, announcer stands, bleachers, ticket stands and picnic tables to panels, gates and cages for livestock.

Wadena County Fair officials have expressed their gratitude for the help Wadena has received with clean-up and rebuilding efforts from countless volunteers throughout the counties. "We are strong and will make the fair happen," a statement on the Wadena County Fair website reads. "Give thanks to the professionals, volunteers and families that are doing whatever they can."

The Minnesota Department of Transportation has removed several inches of sand from the Horse Arena.

A large magnet has gone all over the grounds to pick up dangerous debris as well.

Flowers and grass seed has been planted. Chain link fencing along Hwy. 10 has also been installed.

For a community devastated by a natural disaster, Sazama believes helping neighbors out during a difficult time is a major step in moving forward.

"It's a back scratching thing," said Sazama. "It's what neighbors do."