Franklin County Fairgrounds receives anonymous $5K donation to aid in storm cleanup efforts

  • Volunteers help with cleanup after a storm on Oct. 7, which caused an estimated $50,000 in damage to trees and property at the Franklin County Fairgrounds in Greenfield. Staff photo/MARY BYRNE

Staff Writer
Published: 10/16/2020 3:37:53 PM

GREENFIELD — An anonymous $5,000 donation was made to the Franklin County Fairgrounds this week, putting an unexpected dent in the estimated cost of post-storm cleanup.

“I don’t have words to say how appreciative we are for this person,” said Mike Nelson, president of the Franklin County Agricultural Society, which manages the Franklin County Fairgrounds on Wisdom Way. “This kind of gift is something that’s going to really help us with some serious improvements.”

On Oct. 7, a brief but powerful storm caused an estimated $50,000 worth of damage to the grounds, Nelson said. Three trees were completely uprooted, three utility poles snapped in half, and in addition to minor damage to several buildings, a few windows were blown from the top of the Roundhouse.

The information booth was also destroyed beyond repair, he added.

“Everything costs money,” Nelson said, noting he is still working with the insurance company to determine what, if any, financial obligation it will be responsible for. “In the meantime, we know there are some things they definitely won’t cover, such as tree cleanup. ... It’s already been a really tough year not having the fair, and the fairgrounds relies on the fair… to keep up operations.”

Nelson said he is grateful for the donations community members have made, as well as the volunteers who have come to help with cleanup.

“Everything helps with something,” he said. “We just can’t thank the community enough for the outpouring of support.”

As of Friday afternoon, a GoFundMe page at set up by Robert Campbell — known locally as disc jockey Bobby C — has raised more than $3,200 toward storm cleanup.

And this week’s “exceptionally generous” donation, Nelson said, left him speechless. The donation came with a note thanking fairground leadership for 60 years’ worth of memories at the fair, both as an exhibitor and as an attendee.

“I’m pleased to hear that the fair had so many special memories for this person,” Nelson said. “It’s those sorts of stories we hear that inspire us to continue to preserve the fairgrounds for generations to come, so they can share their stories, as this anonymous donor did.”

Mary Byrne can be reached at or 413-930-4429. Twitter: @MaryEByrne

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