Fair will be allowed to stay in current location one more year

Published 4:45 pm Monday, January 21, 2013

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) at the Chilton County Airport granted a one-year extension for the Chilton County Fair to remain in the current location, near the airport, for the 2013 fair.

President of the Clanton Kiwanis Club Dan Nolen said he received word from Chilton County Airport Authority Chairman Craig Cleckler that the fair would not have to find a new location amid concerns in early October 2012 that the location of the fair might be in jeopardy due to a proposed airport project that would extend the airport’s runway 1,000 feet to the west.

“We were having a bit of a struggle locating a new site so when I received the call that we wouldn’t be forced to move this year I was very excited,” Nolen said.

Earlier this month, Nolen announced plans were underway for the Kiwanis Club who sponsors the fair, trying to secure property near the old Henry M. Adair School located at 102 First St. S. in Clanton for the new location of the fair.

Although the news provides relief for fair organizers who were actively trying to secure a new location and make sure infrastructures were properly built to accommodate the size of the fair, Cleckler said a relocation will be imminent after this year.

“This is only a one-year extension,” Cleckler said. “There were concerns from fair organizers on whether they were going to have everything secure and ready for the fair this year so members of the Airport Board went to FAA and Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT) Avionics Division, told them the situation and they granted us a one year extension.”

Cleckler explained over the last several years the airport has received grants from the FAA and ALDOT Avionics Division but require the airport to meet certain safety guidelines to comply with the FAA in order to continue receiving the grants.

“FAA and ALDOT were saying to us they weren’t going to continue giving us the grants for the airport if we continued having the fair near our location with the lit up Ferris wheel that is considered an obstruction,” Cleckler said. “I had met with the Kiwanis Club several months ago and passed along the airport’s long-term plans along with the issue we were facing to let them know what we were dealing with.”

Cleckler said after presenting Kiwanis members with the long-term plans for growth, Nolen asked the airport authority to consider allowing the club one more year at the current location due to concerns a new location would not be available in time for the opening of the fair in October 2013.