By Brandon Martin
The Henry County Board of Supervisors selected a vendor for the 2021 Henry County Fair, set for September 22-25 at the Martinsville Speedway.
In a unanimous decision, the board awarded the contract to Cole Shows Amusement Company, Inc., located in Covington, Va.
Roger Adams, director of Parks and Recreation, said the “vendor, that has agreed to come, will provide the rides, the games, and the food attractions.”
The company travels throughout Virginia, West Virginia and North Carolina, and in addition to attractions, also provides marketing materials, according to their website.
Their marketing package consists of a “combination of television and radio commercials, newspaper ads, school fliers 4′ x 8′ banners, window posters (both Spanish and English), website event marketing, website links, social media and online advanced sales.”
The contract was not for a set amount. Adams said that the county will instead get a percentage of the overall sales.
“Typically, it’s 25 percent,” he said. “We don’t actually pay them money. They come, set up and sell the ride wristbands, and we get 25 percent of the gross sales. We also get a set dollar amount for every game and food vendor that they bring.”
The list of possible attractions is expansive, according to Adams.
“We are also looking to sign a number of ground attractions for the fair,” he said. “Those can include magic shows, acrobatic dog shows, racing pigs, a timber show and some other attractions that we are actively working on now. Some other attractions that we are looking to have are a petting zoo, fireworks on the last night.”
Fair organizers also “have secured and registered to have a Miss Henry County pageant,” Adams said. “The pageant will take place earlier in the year and the winner will represent the county at the fair. She can also represent the county at various ribbon cuttings and things in the community.”
Adams said the winner also will go to the Virginia Association of Fairs Conference in 2022 to represent the county in competitions for the state title.
“Our fair committee did decide that they would like to pursue having a fair mascot,” he added. “I’m going to be working on that to give them some recommendations for a type of mascot that we could use to help promote the fair.”
With the contract awarded, Adams said more attention now will be on marketing the event.
“Things such as developing a fair poster, securing billboard advertising, a program for the fair, radio and tv ads,” he said. “I’m working with a vendor now so that we will be able to do online ticket sales to sell wristbands and ride tickets.”
Local businesses can also participate in the fair as sponsors.
“We are actively looking for sponsors,” Adams said. “We will be putting the sponsor application online shortly. We have a variety of sponsor packets from a title sponsor all the way down to being a sponsor for area attractions. There are sponsorship packets for businesses of all sizes.”
Adams said the team that is helping coordinate the fair has been busy.
“We’ve developed a 12 to 15-person committee that is actively working on this,” he said. “The website and the Facebook page is up and running. We have, already, about 1,200 people following us on Facebook. I’m pleased that we did make a lot of progress. We are looking forward to having a great fair.”
The goal, he said, is to attract “10,000 people” as the minimum number for the four-day fair.
Joe Bryant, of the Collinsville District, praised the effort.
“I think it’s great. I really do and I do appreciate your hard work,” Bryant said to Adams. “I think Roger and I see a sense of commodity when it comes to this fair. I think me and him, both, wanted one for a long time. It hasn’t ever come to fruition but now it’s reality and it’s going to be here next year. I think it’s going to be a great, great comeback for Henry County, with the first fair in a long, long time.”
In other matters, the board:
*Heard from Lewis Waller, a resident in the Collinsville District, about blighted properties in Villa Heights.
“I’ve heard folks say ‘why go to Villa Heights? Who wants to be there? It’s the hood,’” Waller said. “I grew up there. My kids grew up there. My family was there. To have somebody purchase property in a community and yet walk away is not acceptable.”
Waller added “I’m seeking your guidance, your help and your support in this matter. Over the last 10 years, I’ve seen the value of our property decrease. Why, when the value of property should increase?”
The community, he said, has become “a dumping ground. They brought trash and just threw it on the ground. To me, that was devastating. And then we have to look at the next thing. It’s unsafe for our kids. We have seen drugs continue to be there for years and years. Not only drugs. We have seen people get killed there.”
As a last request, Waller said “I hope we don’t become a forgotten community. What does the future hold for Villa Heights?”
Waller said he had gathered 180 signatures from community members who support cleanup efforts.
*Heard from Susan Rose, of Irisburg, about preventative measures for unsafe firearm disbursements and noisiness.
Rose said her residence on Meadowview Lane has approximately 25 homes on the street.
“My concern is the shooting that we have going on that has been loud,” Rose said. “It’s under my understanding that the ordinances allow people to shoot in their backyards. It’s very dangerous. We have quite a few children on our street.”
There are also commercial properties nearby, according to Rose.
“I’m asking for your help with this. I’m coming up with a brick wall with everything I’ve heard with this,” Rose said. “Anything you can do, we would appreciate.”
*Awarded a five-year contract, with up to three one-year extensions, to Oasis Commissary Services for the new jail. The agreement begins when the first inmate is moved into the new facility. By awarding the contract prior to opening the facility, the vendor is able to work closely with the contractor to plan, schedule, and complete installation of the many components before the center opens. The new jail is anticipated to open in February, 2022.
*Awarded a contract to Pay Tel Communications for communication services at the new jail, to include inmate telephone, video visitation, inmate tablets, and inmate mail handling.
*Appropriated three grants from the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) for training, equipment, and overtime compensation related to the enforcement of alcohol-related traffic laws, seat belt laws, and speed-related laws. The contracts are for $26,000; $2,550; and $25,916, respectively.
*Appropriated $269,393 received from the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) Fund and the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief (FEER) Fund. The funds are to be used to address the impact that COVID-19 continues to have on schools. The school board has indicated it will use the funds to support special education services and purchase sanitizing supplies and personal protective equipment.
*Appropriated $1,220,590 received from the Federal Coronavirus Relief Funds (CRF) for costs incurred related to COVID-19 in reopening and operating public schools during the first months of the 2020-2021 school year. The funds will be used to provide additional pay in the form of a one-time stipend for current employees employed under an employment contract or appointment letter, performing jobs in person at the school building level. Funds will also be used to make improvements to HVAC systems at school facilities.
*Awarded a $169,000 contract to Tek84, Inc. for an Intercept Contraband Detection Scanner The price includes the scanner, temperature scanner, installation, and training. The equipment will improve officer and inmate safety at the jail and lessen the chance of an officer being exposed to the coronavirus.
*Designated County Administrator Tim Hall as the representative for the 2020 Virginia
Association of Counties (VACo) Annual Meeting.
*Approved the 2021 Legislative Agenda that will be forwarded to representatives in the Virginia General Assembly.
*Approved a rezoning application for the old John Redd Smith Elementary School.