In 1915, the Board of Trade, now known as the Chamber of Commerce, approved a project to hold a fair in Manatee County, with the first fair being held on February 28, 1916. In the early years, its location changed several times, and it was even suspended during the war and Great Depression. However, the fair continued to flourish into the well-known event it is today, and thousands of fairgoers flock annually to the fairgrounds in mid-January to enjoy live entertainment, food, amusement rides and more.
For Greg Witt, vice president and senior project manager at Halfacre Construction, the fair holds a special place in his heart.
“The fair has been in the same location for decades, right across the street from Palmetto High School,” said Greg. “I grew up about two miles away, so I remember always going as a kid. It’s a special event for Manatee County, but also for the Palmetto community.”
Greg, a fourth generation Manatee County resident, got involved with the fair around 2009. Over the last 14 years, he’s supported in different ways, with his most recent involvement including being on the board of directors, chairman of security and member of the executive committee.
“As security chairman, the fair takes great pride in our partnership with the Manatee County Sheriff’s Department, who provides all the security inside the fairgrounds during the fair,” said Greg. “We couldn’t have a fair if we didn’t have their support. The Sheriff and deputies take great pride in their involvement with the fair and it gives all of the patrons a peace of mind that their families will be safe. We continue to improve security measures each and every year to provide a safe place for people to come and enjoy the fair.”
But it’s not just Greg that’s been involved with the fair.
Halfacre Construction Company joined Greg 14 years ago in showing support for the yearly event that showcases the best of Manatee County. Every year, Halfacre purchases a livestock sponsorship from the children involved in 4-H. The 4-H’ers raise their own livestock, which includes feeding, grooming and taking care of their animal, before it’s shown at the fair. Throughout the process, 4-H’ers learn how to raise livestock, along with the time, money and commitment it entails. After the show, the sale takes place, giving the 4-H youth the opportunity to collect a profit for their animal, which they then get to keep.
This year, the commercial construction firm purchased Whippersnapper, a 256-pound pig.
Whether it’s through donations, fundraising or serving on boards, the leaders and team members at Halfacre Construction take great pride in serving the community. The company has been fortunate in being able to support a number of amazing causes over the years.
And while the Manatee County Fair is now over, it will return in mid-January of 2024 for another memorable experience! For those interested in volunteering with the fair, visit ManateeCountyFair.com