The Riley County fair’s 4-H entries were down 5.5% this year compared to 2018, Extension director Gary Fike said Tuesday at the Riley County Commission meeting, and open-class entries were down 17%.

He said the fair had 2,108 4-H entries this year, which was down 117 entries, or down 5.5% when compared to last year’s 2,225 entries. He said, however, the average over the last five years is 1,975.

“So we’re still up long-term,” Fike said.

Photography and arts and crafts are among the categories with the most entries, Fike said.

“The photography project continues to grow,” Fike said.

The fair had 388 open-class exhibits, which is down from the 469 entries in 2018. That is a decrease of 81 entries or 17%.

“We had made an extra push on that but didn’t come through with more entries,” Fike said.

In relation to vendors, Fike said the fair took in a total of $9,375, which is up $1,525, or 19%, from 2018. The fair collected $7,850 last year. Fike said the fair board increased the for-profit food vendor booth price this year.

Fike said armband sales grossed $132,273, which is up about $5,000 last year.

The rodeo boasted an attendance of 5,800. That was down about 100 from last year, but is up over the 10-year average of 5,587.

Riley County Extension also is planning for a conference focusing on rural entrepreneurship in February 2020 in Manhattan, Fike said.

Fike invited the commission to attend the Rural Revitalization conference planned for Feb. 27, 2020, at Frontage 109 in Leonardville.

In addition to talking rural entrepreneurship, the conference will host a panel. Fike said officials are inviting other counties to the event.

“We’re pretty excited about that, and hope for a big crowd,” Fike said.

In other action Thursday, commissioners:

  • Approved a request to plat a 6.81-acre farmstead tract into a single lot on Rose Hill Road north of Randolph.
  • Listened to a presentation by Clancy Holeman, counselor and director of administrative services, about concealed carry rules in Kansas.
  • Heard an update from the Dennis Butler, Riley County Police Department Director. Butler said the city is allocating more space for the department in the Aggieville Substation than what was previously thought. Butler discussed the possibility of stationing full-time employees at the space.
  • Listened to an update from Pat Collins, director of emergency management. Collins said the Manhattan Fire Department received 542 calls so far this year, which is a record and exceeded last year’s number. Collins said the department received about 370 medical calls and 150 fire calls. He did not specify how many calls the department received last year at this time. Collins also updated the commission about the radio system and KaComm contract. He said the department purchased a seven-site system including radio equipment with seven proposed tower locations. K-State plans to add another site to that list as well.
  • Heard a change order on the radio project from Collins. There are additional costs now in the amount of $65,000 for a NICE recorder, Collins said. The commissioners did not take action on the change order as Collins is still working on the initiative.