County fair board to discuss future of horse barn

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^ Posted Feb. 15

By Sally Voth

The Shenandoah County Fair Association plans to meet Monday to discuss the future of boarding horses at the fairgrounds.

A Thursday morning fire destroyed 30 of the horse barn's 42 stalls, but two more will have to be torn down due to damage, the fair's general manager, Tom Eshelman, said on Friday.

"Now the embers [have] stopped smoking ... they're going to have a board meeting on Monday to decide our path," he said.

Fair Association President Terry Kibler said that'd likely mean rebuilding, but he said the board would "look at everything and figure out where we go from here."

Several stalls at either end of the long stables survived, Eshelman said.

"Of the 12 that are remaining, the inside pieces will probably come down, two more [stalls] will definitely come down," he said.

There was only one horse being kept in the barn, and its owner managed to get it out in time. However, two dogs did die in the fire.

"Had it been a couple months from now [when more horses were in the stalls], it would've been a much more tragic story," Eshelman said. "I hate that the two dogs perished. Some of the owners of the horses had tack and stuff over there that was destroyed."

Two homes behind the barns suffered minor damage, Woodstock Fire Capt. Phil Hottel said on Thursday.

Eshelman said the barn was 97-years-old.

"It's as old as the fairgrounds," he said. "It used to be even longer, and it tapered down to that size that was there. In the past couple years, they've not been all filled up."

Support from the county fair and horse communities has been strong, Eshelman said.

"Really good community support about it," he said. "It's a long-standing heritage. Lot of people hated to see them go. It's an unfortunate loss of heritage, but it's something that can be rebuilt."

Contact staff writer Sally Voth at 540-465-5137 ext. 164, or svoth@nvdaily.com


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