Another Section of Mercer Fairgrounds In Ruins

First, a tornado caused some heavy damage during the winter and now a fire added to the devastation. It all happened at the site of the nation's longest running fair and horse show.

Thousands of people have filled the Harrodsburg grandstands for decades. But in February a tornado took out the corner section. Early Tuesday morning, fire destroyed what officials are calling the best 1,500 or so seats in the house.

“We're pretty proud of this grandstand. We have future plans to build better seating, a roof over it. You never know. Maybe that's in the cards now,” says Mercer County Fair Board President Dr. LeMayne Ellis.

Firefighters were able to keep the fire from spreading to the other seating sections.

Investigators are looking to see if the blaze was intentionally set.

“As far as I know electricity was turned off at the main breaker. Electricity really wasn't going through,” says Ellis.

Mercer County High School seniors were to graduate in the facility next month, and a horse show was scheduled to begin this weekend.

"The Derby Classic Walking Horse Show. I talked to them this morning. They know the situation. At this point they're postponed,” Ellis said.

While most events scheduled for the coming weeks will be postponed or moved to other locations, some of the bigger summer events will not be canceled, says Ellis.


HARRODSBURG, Ky. (AP) - Fire destroyed a section of the grandstand at the Mercer County Fairgrounds.

The blaze earlyTuesday came nearly three months after a tornado damaged another section of seats on Feb. 6.

Kentucky State Police are investigating the fire.

Fair Board President LeMayne Ellis said electricity to the grandstand had been turned off.

Ellis said the 180th Mercer County Fair & Horse Show on July 21-26 is still scheduled.

The event bills itself as the oldest county fair in America.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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