Thanks to a handful of volunteers, ground has been broken for a new feature at the Warren County Fair.
In February 2011, after standing for more than 35 years, the fairground's Cornplanter Pavilion collapsed due to weight of snow accumulation. Since then, according to fair board member Doris Labowski, volunteers have worked to replace what was lost. Last year a new pavilion was completed and built just in time for use at the fair and now, with the blessing of the fair board, work on replacing the food stand which once stood inside Cornplanter is moving forward.
The new structure, dubbed the Cornplanter Cafe in honor of the old pavilion, will be an external structure, elevated to allow a view of the entire grounds from the outdoor seating.
"There is nowhere else at the fairgrounds where you can do that," Labowski said. "With the building codes what they are now, that's why the new stand has to be outside."
The committee to build the cafe is made up of volunteers and, according to Labowski, "five or six (fair) board members."
"The fair board asked whatever we do, to do a 'wow' factor," said Labowski. "Since it's the center, it's going to be the focal point. We're all excited about having it."
The committee has been working on the project since December and, according to Labowski, it has been spearheaded by new fair board member Steve Carr.
"He (Carr) has worked very, very hard on this," Labowski acknowledged. "We've all worked on it, but he's done the most."
The project is being financed through sponsor donations, according to Labowski, and interested organizations can contact the fair board at Warren County Fair, P.O. Box 230, Pittsfield, Pa. 16340. Sponsors will be recognized in some way on the outside of the final building.
"The cost is quite high because of some of the compliance now for a new building," Labowski said. "We're trying to raise as much as we can because we have a dream down the line for a radio station and museum."
Labowski declined to specify the cafe's total projected cost, but a sponsorship solicitation letter provided by Labowski notes the cost has nearly depleted the fair's building fund.
"Down the line, once the building is completed," Labowski noted, "if someone would like to donate for picnic tables and umbrellas with their name on it that will be used every year. We're looking into doing that."
Castle Construction of Bradford will complete work on the project; it completed work on the new pavilion at the fairgrounds last year.