Pictured is the current site of the Farm Bureau Food Tent. The Farm Bureau will be moving to a new building on the current site of Babyland in 2015. Babyland will be relocated to the current Farm Bureau site in 2016. (DHI Media/Ed Gebert)
Pictured is the current site of the Farm Bureau Food Tent. The Farm Bureau will be moving to a new building on the current site of Babyland in 2015. Babyland will be relocated to the current Farm Bureau site in 2016. (DHI Media/Ed Gebert)

VAN WERT — Some facilities at the Van Wert County Fairgrounds have been in the same location for so long, nobody is really sure how long they have been in that spot. The old Rabbit Barn had been in place for an estimated 125 years before being torn down this summer. The age was estimated because no one could determine exactly when it was built. The Farm Bureau Food Tent building is closer to 50 years old, and this year will be it’s last.

The Farm Bureau Food Tent Building will be moving to a new location. Actually, the Farm Bureau is moving to a new building. It will be built on the current site of Babyland, across from the Dairy Barn.

The Farm Bureau’s Chris Young explained, “The main premise behind the project is, that metal building (currently Babyland) is getting to the point where a lot of the hardware that holds it together is in ill repair.The Fairgrounds would have to dump a lot of money into it. They wanted to build new bathrooms on this end of the fairgrounds for the fair kids. Farm Bureau thought it would be a good opportunity to help the Junior Fair and the Fairgrounds by building the bathrooms and showers. It is a complicated project because it needs to be tornado-shelter-safe. And we wanted to do something at our own building, so we thought we’d combine the two projects and move us over to that site.”

The basic outcome will be that the Farm Bureau Food Tent will be a building on the site where the Babyland building currently sets, and Babyland will move to the site that currently houses the Farm Bureau. Both buildings will be taken down. However, the Farm Bureau will be in a new building that is much the size of the space it currently uses to the east of the Goat and Sheep Barn. Babyland will be relocated to the current Farm Bureau site.



Current plans call for the new Farm Bureau Building, complete with new bathrooms, to be ready for the 2015 Fair and the new Babyland site on target for 2016.

Young stated the new Farm Bureau Building will look much like the Dairy Barn from the outside. Young also mentioned that having kitchen facilities at the fairgrounds will make the building more useful outside of fair week.

“We think it will be a good investment in the Junior Fair and in the fairgrounds and put some new life to this end of the fairgrounds,” Young said.

The decision to change locations was influenced by the fact the current Farm Bureau Building was at the point where money would need to invested. That building was built for the Farm Bureau. The food stand there began as simply a food tent at that site. If a building for Babyland at that site is built, some grading work must be done to correct the slope that is currently a part of the dining area.

The location swap will continue to improve the quality of the buildings on the fairgrounds’ south side and, combined changes with the Rabbit Barn and the Gospel Pavilion, will provide a partial facelift for the historic fairgrounds.