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Lincoln County moves forward with purchase of Goeman Auction for  4-H Fairgrounds

The Lincoln County Fair was held in Lennox as early as 1922, now 98 years later, it could be coming back.

Just last week Lincoln County voted to move forward with the purchase of the Goeman Auction Pavilion and Grounds located north of Lennox to be used for the 4-H county fairgrounds. According to 4-H leaders, if all goes well, Achievement Days could be held at the new location in 2020.

Stated in a Lincoln County history book published in 1985 by the Lincoln County History Committee, it was in 1922 that the Lennox Community Club sponsored 4-H Achievement Day, that later developed into the Lincoln County Fair Association in about 1924. The fair was held in Lennox until at least 1939. Achievement Days sometime after that were moved to Canton. It was about in 1948 that the Lincoln County Achievement Days started at the location on the east end of Canton.

A plan to move to the Goeman Auction grounds was presented a few weeks ago. The 34-plus acre property and 10,000 square foot building garnered unanimous support from Lincoln County Commissioners when the idea was presented by the Lincoln County 4-H Grounds Committee as a possible location for the fairgrounds. The commission voted to move forward with the purchase at their Sept. 3rd meeting.

Lincoln County Commissioner Mike Poppens said papers were signed Sept. 13, however the agreement is not finalized. Details on the purchase agreement will be released as soon as the property closes.

Although no dollar amounts have been shared, Poppens offered his appreciation to Jeff and Sally Goeman.

He said, “It’s because of their willingness to sell it to the County at a more than fair price.”

Poppens added, “We’ve looked at many options over the years; being patient has afforded us the opportunity to enhance the 4-H program ad provide multi-purpose use for the county.”

Wendy Sweeter is the leader of the Dakota Lassies and Rangers 4-H Club and the Lincoln County 4-H Leaders Association president. She said the Leaders Association formed the current Grounds Committee about one and a half years ago. There had been a previous grounds committee as many as 10 years ago.

“The goal in mind was to research and find options of what to do,” Sweeter said, “either moving the fairgrounds somewhere else, or to update the current buildings at the fairgrounds in Canton.”

The land which is the current fairgrounds in Canton is not owned by Lincoln County, although most of the buildings are.

Chad Hazel is chairman of the Grounds Committee and said they have explored quite a few options.

He said, “The old fairgrounds in Canton has served the county well for a long time, but time has taken its toll on all the buildings; the bathrooms aren’t handicap accessible. It was time that something was done, and the Goeman facility actually fits our needs better than what we had before, as far as space, and it’s right on a black top road.”

Sweeter is credited for spearheading the idea.

“I was working on a story about the Goemans and their 38 years in the auction business, and I was working in the current 4-H office in Canton because I had volunteered to help out in the office that day,” Sweeter said. “It dawned on me that Goemans’ [property] was for sale.”

The idea that it would be an ideal location for the county fairgrounds led her to talk it over with friends and family who agreed it would be nice, but never thought it would happen. That was Aug. 26.

That thought stayed with her though, and as she drove by Goeman Auction Pavilion the next day, she noticed Jeff and Sally Goeman’s vehicle was there. People Sweeter knew encouraged her to stop and ask for information on the property, so she did.

“I didn’t know if it would go anywhere,” Sweeter said.

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