Columbia County Fair Board to run Dayton Days

Only the horse racing will be missing from the annual event.

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DAYTON - Friday's deadline for funding for horse racing in Waitsburg and Dayton passed without money coming forth, so the Columbia County Fair Board has the green light to run Dayton Days Memorial Day weekend.

Columbia County commissioners last week approved an agreement between Columbia County and the Fair Board to run Dayton Days, if the horse racing funding did not come through.

Dayton Days, Inc. officers, along with officials of Walla Walla County Fair and Frontier Days and Waitsburg's Days of Real Sport, learned in February that the state racing commission is unable to fund parimutuel racing at these three racetracks in 2011.

The Fair Board intends to hold all other events for the Dayton event, including selecting a queen and court, holding a coronation dinner, and two days of rodeo, according to Columbia County Fair Manager Shane Laib.

There are also plans to provide some midway entertainment, food vendors and children's entertainment.

Laib, who recently attended the Washington State Fair Managers' meeting, allayed commissioners' concerns about fair's ability to put on other events.

Almost every fair board puts on other events, Laib said. "We can self-produce other events with the permission of the county commissioners," he said.

Laib assured commissioners there won't be a red bottom line when the event is over. "At the end of the day I can guarantee you the sponsorship money will be there," he said.

"Really all you're doing is keeping the Memorial Day date warm," Commissioner Chuck Reeves observed.

The Fair Board plans to turn operation of Dayton Days back to Dayton Days, Inc. after the event.

This year is the 93rd anniversary of Dayton Days.

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