Fundraising effort works to replace barn that burned down at fairgrounds

Group to discuss how to raise money

ckrotzer@theolympian.comFebruary 23, 2013 

A grass-roots fundraising effort is under way to collect materials needed to replace a barn that burned down at the Thurston County Fairgrounds this month.

A group of volunteers will meet at the fairgrounds Sunday night to discuss fundraising ideas to replace the 3,000 square-foot barn known as “the goat barn” that caught fire the morning of Feb. 13, destroying two RVs, two boats and a fifth-wheel trailer being stored inside.

The barn was built in 2003 and was used by the county to store recreational vehicles in the winter.

The cause of the fire is under investigation, said Cliff Moore, director of resource stewardship.

“Several insurance companies are looking at it, the county sheriff and Lacey Fire are all looking at it,” Moore said. “At this time we have no definitive cause.”

The barn burned for some time before anyone noticed and called the fire department because of its location on the fairgrounds, said Lacey Fire District 3 Chief Steve Brooks.

“It was a lot of damage,” Brooks said. “It was difficult to make a specific point of origin or determination ... for us, it’s listed as undetermined unless (the Sheriff’s Office) comes up with something forensic or criminal.”

In the meantime, 21-year-old Sarina Jenson of Olympia wants to do what she can to ensure a new barn is built in its place.

Jenson has been either involved or a visitor of the fair since she was 13 years old. She showed goats, pigs and sheep in 4-H over the past few years.

“I don’t want to see the fair just disappear, you know,” Jenson said.

Jenson said she has approached several businesses in town that have shown an interest in donating either time or materials toward a new barn.

The county hasn’t been able to clean up the damage from the original barn because of the investigation.

Figuring out what to do next will be on the fair board’s agenda during its upcoming meeting March 6.

“We haven’t looked at a plan yet of whether to rebuild exactly or do something a bit different to meet additional needs,” Moore said. “The community meeting for fundraising strategies is a great first step and will help inform whatever our overall decision will be.”

Jenson and other volunteers will meet at the fairground’s Benoscheck Hall at 6:30 p.m. Sunday to discuss fundraising ideas. Anyone with questions or more information about the meeting can email Jenson at sarinaleigh1991@gmail.com

Chelsea Krotzer: 360-754-5476 ckrotzer@theolympian.com theolympian.com/thisjustin @chelseakrotzer

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