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Funding Current Projects


Project Details

Ozark Empire Fairgrounds & Event Center Unveils Plan for Facility Improvements

The Ozark Empire Fairgrounds & Event Center is rolling out a plan to make an outdated area of the fairgrounds more accessible, aesthetically pleasing and functional. The project includes remodeling the decades-old 4-H building, expanding the Lester building and constructing a maintenance shed. “We are excited about this project because it puts money in an area that will benefit exhibitors,” said Aaron Owen, Ozark Empire Fairgrounds & Event Center General Manager.

The 4-H building was constructed in the 1960s and much of it is now far beyond repair. In fact, during the Ozark Empire Fair, 4-H exhibitors no longer use the 4-H building. Instead, they set up their projects in the Live Local Hall in the E*Plex. The improvement plan includes tearing down the dilapidated part of the 4-H building, but saving and remodeling its shower-house and restrooms. This will give campers and exhibitors access to a much-needed shower-house and restroom facility in that area. The outside of the 4-H building will be resurfaced in tan-colored siding and stone.

The Lester building, situated next to the 4-H building, will also undergo a transformation. The Lester building will be expanded from 1,900 square-feet to 5,700 square-feet. It will get decked out in the same tan-colored siding as the 4-H building.

Currently, the Ozark Empire Fair must limit the number of entries rabbit and poultry exhibitors bring due to the Lester building’s insufficient size. The expanded facility will allow 4-H and FFA youth and adults to show-off more of their prized rabbits and chickens. In addition, the increased space will give commercial vendors more room during events like FarmFest. “When the building is completed, the options are endless in regards to what it can be rented for. We envision it to be used for country weddings, family reunions or winter storage for RVs and boats,” explained Owen.

With additional funds raised, the area around the 4-H and Lester buildings will receive asphalt. This will give the fairgrounds additional handicap-accessible parking and additional camping spots. All nearby overhead power lines will be buried to improve safety and make the area more aesthetically pleasing.

The last piece of the improvement plan includes building a new maintenance shed to house large equipment like tractors, dump trucks and street cleaners. Steel from the torn-down section of the 4-H building will be repurposed in the construction of the new shed.

Last year, more than 530,000 people attended events at the fairgrounds. In 2014, the Ozark Empire Fairgrounds and Event Center spent $297,000 on building remodels, repairs and equipment in order to update its facilities. Everything the Ozark Empire Fairgrounds & Event Center accomplishes is done without tax dollars, assessment fees, or subsidies.

The plan to transform the blighted area into a place of beauty and functionality at the fairgrounds will cost $190,000. The Ozark Empire Fair Board and the Ozark Empire Fair Foundation are pledging money and support to the project. But, for the plan to come to complete fruition, they need your help. A private donor has donated up to $50,000 in matching funds and we would appreciate your consideration and support as well. All donations will be accepted in addition to multi-year pledges. All gifts are tax deductible. Gifts will be recognized publically and those exceeding $2,500 will be posted in a prime and permanent location at the building. If you are interested in partnering in this much-needed project, please feel free to contact Aaron Owen, General Manager Ozark Empire Fairgrounds & Event Center.


How to Give

1. Submit a completed pledge card. (See pdf below)

2. Online donations are being accepted here.

3. If you would like to further discuss the project, contact Aaron Owen at 417.833.2660.


Contact Info

For more information please contact:
Aaron Owen, General Manager, Ozark Empire
Fairgrounds & Event Center
PH 417-833-2660
Or for online donations visit:
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