Comment on the fairground’s future | Letters

You may have heard that the county is preparing to update the fairgrounds master plan. A consulting firm, MAKERS Architects and Urban Design, has been hired to help solicit public input and provide analysis. The update will direct fairgrounds development, maintenance and activities for the next 10 or more years.

I encourage you to complete the survey at and to stop by the master plan update booth at the fair.

The fairgrounds is an important resource, cultural landscape and meeting place. It is perhaps the one place that I can think of that brings residents from all islands together for the Fair each year. This alone makes it a historic cultural landscape, one that we need to work together to protect and preserve.

Nationally, fairs and fairgrounds are disappearing because one-week-a-year fair use is not sustainable for such large landholdings. This is why it is critical for our community to pull together to help plan the next 10-20 years of fairgrounds use and development. How do we do this and protect its unique character and sense of place? We all need to help figure this out.

One question on my mind is when and where a new barn will be built? I feel certain that it will need to be multi-purpose and be used year-round. Architectural style and materials will be critical in maintaining a sense of place and telling the story of the fairgrounds and the county’s rural heritage. I also believe that going forward the fairgrounds must be environmentally sustainable and that the visual character and heritage and sustainable development can be melded into a plan that is dynamic and authentic to San Juan County.

We can’t sit back and expect that county staff and the consultants will be able to make a plan by themselves, at least one that resonates with the community. This is why I am encouraging you to be thinking about the fairgrounds, and that you will lend your ideas and voice to the plan.

I hope to see you at the fair!

Sandy Strehlou

Historic Preservation Coordinator