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Parade of livestock champions might return for State Fair grandstand centennial in 2018

Bringing back the parade of livestock champions is among the ideas a South Dakota State Fair task force is exploring for the annual event in Huron.

Fair manager Peggy Besch said finding a time that could work for all 4-H, FFA and open-class winners is "a little challenging."

The parade could be a way the fair marks the centennial of its grandstand built in 1918, she said in a telephone interview Wednesday.

Members of the State Fair Commission met Dec. 19 at Nordby Exhibit Hall on the fairgrounds and by teleconference.

Commissioners Scott Cordts, of Huron, Tom Harmon, of Pierre and Loren Noess, of Mitchell agreed to be on the task force.

"We're just brainstorming on some fun things to do to celebrate," Besch said. "It's pretty fluid yet."

She became fair manager in December 2014 and succeeded Jerome Bartel, who stepped down after seven years to become manager for the Alaska State Fair.

Lucas Lentsch, who was state secretary of agriculture, announced the appointment.

Besch previously worked 23 years for the Huron Chamber and Visitors Bureau, including the last 14 as chief executive officer and president.

Several phases of renovations to the grandstand began during spring 2017, Besch said, and workers are expected to finish before the 2018 fair opens Aug. 30.

The new roof is on, steel reinforcements are in place, bathrooms are being remodeled and there are additional improvements under way for areas such as the office and security.

"The renovations are a long time overdue, so we're excited about it," she said.