The Arlington Music Boosters are scrambling after their concession stand — one of the main food stands during the Washington County Fair — was severely damaged at the fairgrounds when the Elkhorn River flooded in March.
The organization, which supports the Arlington Public Schools' music programs and its students, lost most of the building's contents, which included roasters, coffee pots, crock pots, coolers and paper products. Large cupboards and countertops, where food was prepared, were toppled and moved after four feet of water entered the building.
On Monday, members of the group viewed what was left. The cupboards, sinks and water heater were gone. Dry wall has been removed and the concrete floor, which had been covered with a six-inch layer of mud, had been power washed.
“We're starting from scratch,” Arlington Music Boosters President Kathy Jurey said.
The music boosters have found themselves in a predicament. The fair concession stand is the group's largest fundraiser, supplying music students with funds to pay for items such as show choir outfits, instrument rentals and camps.
“We have quite a few families that depend on those fundraisers,” Jurey said.
But because the majority of the funds go directly back into the music program, the music boosters have very little money to rebuild.
“We have a core account that we use to start the concession stand up every year, so we can't really touch that,” Jurey said.
The stand itself is the only building on the fairgrounds that the Washington County Fair Board does not own, according to Fair Board President Jason Cloudt. The building was constructed by the music boosters with their own funds, he said.
The organization, which is neither an individual or business, does not qualify for assistance from FEMA either.
“We're in that gray area,” Jurey said.
But the group isn't letting that deter them from re-opening the stand for the 101st Washington County Fair, which is July 26-31. Jurey said the group has applied for some grants, but they are also seeking donations — both monetary and needed items.
“Mainly, the things we're going to start with are the things we really need like sinks and a water heater,” Jurey said. “If we have to, we'll serve off of tables this year until we can gain enough momentum to get cupboards and things like that for storage.”
Jurey said the music boosters hope to have everything ready and in place by the beginning of July.
Donations can be sent to Arlington Public Schools in care of the music boosters. For more information, contact the school at 402-478-4171.