No bathrooms biggest complaint

Published 8:23 pm Tuesday, December 3, 2019

By Diana McFarland


This year’s record-breaking attendance at the Isle of Wight County Fair was accompanied by two main complaints — the lack of permanent restrooms and bleachers. 

Other problems included difficulty in internet service for vendors and a lack of shade, according to Isle of Wight County Fair Committee Chairman Danny Byrum during a recent presentation to the Board of Supervisors. 

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“Nobody likes our toilets,” said Byrum of the porta-potties used at the fairgrounds. 

This year the distaste was compounded by a constant lack of toilet paper and malfunctioning locks. Also, there was an individual, or individuals, throwing whole rolls of toilet papers into the waste areas of the porta-potties, he said. {mprestriction ids=”1,2,3,4,5,6″}

As a result, when workers went to pump the potties, it clogged the hoses, said Byrum.

“It was happening all over,” he said. 

For the Duke Automotive Stage, the fair committee rents bleachers, but these are inadequate, said Byrum. 

“We still can’t seat everyone,” he said. 

Vendors complained about a lack of bandwidth for internet transactions and shade was inadequate, Byrum said, adding that about 50 donated trees were planted. 

“If you will approve my budget, I will plant more trees,” said Byrum, acknowledging that all these fixes cost money. 

Another nicety would be building permanent shelters versus renting tents for $45,000 a year, said Byrum. 

Board Chairman William McCarty asked Byrum to provide cost estimates for these items.

Permanent restrooms are on the list for fairground improvements, estimated at $300,000, in the outer years of the county’s capital improvement plan. The challenge is what type and size of system to employ, given what would be an infrequent, but heavy, use during certain times of the year, said Isle of Wight Assistant County Administrator Don Robertson. 

Even if the county were to hook onto the HRSD line that runs along Route 460 in the town, it’s not known if there would be enough regular effluent to make it feasible, said Robertson.

This year’s fair drew more than 35,000 people, a record for the four-day event held Sept. 12-15. {/mprestriction}