PRIMGHAR—A dedication ceremony set for Monday morning, July 22, during the 2019 O’Brien County Fair will be a celebration, yet there likely will be sadness as well.

The new Wayne Maass Memorial Stage will be dedicated at 11:45 a.m. by the fair board at the fairgrounds on the east side of the county seat community of Primghar.

The rural Paullina man died on Dec. 9, 2017, at the age of 81. According to his obituary, 4-H changed his life and he exhibited champion livestock in many states.

Angus cattle is what his Maass Angus Farms in rural Paullina is known for raising and selling. Wayne Maass enjoyed helping young 4-H’ers, was a 4-H leader for 25 years and was always a strong supporter of 4-H.

“Their family gave us a donation in memory of him,” said county fair board president Darwin Gaudian of rural Primghar. “He asked that all his memorial money be put toward the fair. They took all that money and set it aside.

“They told us to bring a project to them,” he said. “This has kind of been in the back of our minds for a while so we sat down after the fair last year, did some things, got some bids and presented that to the family, and they approved it.”

The dedication ceremony is scheduled for the day after the Maass family will hold a private interment of ashes for 57-year-old Douglas Maass as well as a gathering open to all to celebrate his life.

Rural Paullina native and Austin, TX, resident Doug Maass, one of Wayne Maass’ children, drowned Friday, July 5, in a rafting accident near the central Colorado city of Salida.

Reitsma Construction Inc. of rural Sanborn began working on the O’Brien County Fairgrounds’ stage area renovation project near the end of May and took about a month to complete the construction.

The project not only added a new concrete and gray brick stage that will be named after Wayne Maass, but a new set of metal bleachers and a new 60-by-60-foot steel roof to provide shade for the stage and bleachers.

“We don’t have to bring in a portable stage anymore,” Gaudian said. “We used to bring in a set of bleachers from the racetrack to set in here. We just don’t have to move things anymore. I always wanted to get shade for the stage.”

A backdrop will be installed on the wall behind the stage that will include signs with the words “Wayne Maass Memorial Stage” and “O’Brien County Fair” on them.

The cost of the project is about $55,000 and is being covered by the memorial money from the Maass family, fair board funds and various grants, including $4,300 from the O’Brien County Community Foundation for wiring and lighting of the stage area and horse arena area at the fairgrounds.

Gaudian encouraged attendees of the fair — which dates back to 1924 — to enjoy something to eat at the food court near the renovated stage area during the various activities.

“The many food vendors provide a great variety of food choices to choose from,” he said. “Make plans to attend this year’s O’Brien County Fair. Your attendance and support of O’Brien County youth is greatly appreciated.”


The new Wayne Maass Memorial Stage, which has a couple of steps and a handicapped-accessible ramp, will be used for free entertainment throughout the 2019 O’Brien County Fair, including:

  • The Bill Riley Talent Search at 6 p.m. Monday, July 22, that will have two divisions: Sprout, ages 2-12, and Senior, ages 13-21. The division winners will advance to compete at the 2019 Iowa State Fair, which will be held Aug. 8-18 in Des Moines.
  • The coronation of the 2019 county queen, king and princess at 8 p.m. Monday, July 22. A special guest that evening will be 2018 Iowa State Fair queen Hailey Swan, who hails from the Davis County community of Bloomfield.
  • A performance by country music recording artist Phil Vandel at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, July 23. The St. Joseph, MO, man is a singer-songwriter who travels throughout the United States with his guitar to provide musical entertainment.
  • Performances by ventriloquist and guitarist David Malmberg at noon and 5:45 p.m. Wednesday, July 24. The Minnesota-based man crisscrosses the country with a show that features comedy, storytelling and musical entertainment.
  • 4-H events that will begin at 5 p.m. Wednesday, July 24, such as the “Share the Fun” entertainment and evaluation, the 4-H Style Show and the “$15 Challenge.”

The renovated stage area also will see a couple of other events after the Bill Riley Talent Search on Monday, July 22, but before the coronation of the county queen and king.

Longtime fair board members Sherry Durst of Primghar and rural Primghar residents Dennis Mars and Bob Steinkamp have stepped down from their positions and will be recognized for their time and dedication to the organization.

Durst, who had served as the fair board’s secretary-treasurer for many years, has been replaced by Jill Vander Veen of rural Hartley. Mars’ and Steinkamp’s positions have been taken over by Colton Gable of rural Hartley and Michael Wagner of rural Primghar.

The 2019 Agriculture Hall of Fame award winners also will be announced by the O’Brien County Value-Added Agriculture Steering Committee.

For more information, visit the county fair’s website at