County, Clanton holds work day on fairground land

Published 3:19 pm Friday, September 1, 2023

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By Carey Reeder | Managing Editor

The City of Clanton and the Chilton County Commission and road department held a work day on Aug. 26 at the future site of the next fairground in Clanton. County and city employees, along with Commissioners Darrell Bone, Randell Kelley, Joseph Parnell and Jimmie Hardee participated in the work day hauling over 160,000 tons of dirt on the site to be graded down and leveled.

The old fairground in Clanton sat beside the airport, and after it expanded the fairground went away. There was a long building on the property where all of the exhibits were held, along with a food staple for Clanton Mayor Jeff Mims.

“The Lions Club used to have a snack bar on the side of the building and they sold corndogs,” Mims said. “Those were the best corn dogs in the world right there.”

The City of Clanton jointly owns the land with the county by Connell’s Pest Control, and the rest of the land further back the county owns outright. The old Adair School land that adjoins the county land by the creek where Henry M. Adair Junior High School sat until 2005 is owned by the Chilton County Board of Education.

“We teamed up with the city to build a fairground,” Hardee said. “It has been a long time coming with the fairground. The fairground has been the biggest fundraiser for a lot of the churches and organizations in the past.”

When the city sold Connell’s Pest Control a small strip of the land by the business to build a new parking lot, the city got the dirt from the land to use at the bottom of the hill deeper into the county’s portion of it. The work day on Aug. 26 was spent loading that dirt into dump trucks and hauling it to the bottom of the hill to be graded.

“That is what we have done just to help them out,” Mims said. “The road to the fairgrounds would come in off of Highway 145 or County Road 28 and go back into there. There is still a lot of work that needs to be done back there, but we can make a heck of a fairground and it would look pretty along the creek down through there.”

The county did have water and sewer lines placed on the land, therefore buildings or permanent structures cannot be built on top of them. However, fair rides or events can be held on top of them because they are temporary.

The work days are just the early steps of the big process, and the land may not be ready for another year or two, but the process has begun.

“Get it filled in and get it graded, then go out there and mark the water and sewer (lines) to figure out where you can build those buildings,” Mims said. “There are a couple more ditches that need to be filled in and some other stuff, but you could use all of that big field on the Higgins Ferry (Road) side for parking. You can get it all fixed up and graveled, then you can scatter some buildings around like we used to have and call it good.”

Mims said getting an established fairground back in Clanton will bring in prominent fair companies like Kissel Entertainment into Clanton to have a huge county fair for residents.

“It is going to open up opportunities for us to get companies like Kissel in here, and be able to plan for years down the road,” Mims said. “The kids here need to see the exhibits of people making cakes, jellies and things like that. That is what a county fair is all about.”

Hardee thanked Mims and the City of Clanton employees for their assistance during the work day.