CountryMark Sponsors New Expo Pavilion Coming to Posey County Fairgrounds

Apr 18 2024

Representatives from the Posey County Fair Association and CountryMark pose with a rendering of the Posey County Expo Building. 

(From left: Hannah Leach, Posey County Fair Association Member; Jake McGennis, Posey County Fair Association President; Jim Scarafia, CountryMark Refinery Operations Manager; and Ada Cuadrado, CountryMark Vice President of Operations)

MT. VERNON, IN – April 2024 – The Posey County Fair Association along with major sponsor CountryMark announced today plans to construct an expo pavilion that organizers believe will exceed community expectations.

“The Fair Association has made a commitment to our community to update and maintain our fairgrounds for future generations,” said Jake McGennis, President of the Posey County Fair Association. “Our existing livestock infrastructure has reached its economic life span. The roofs of these three buildings leak, there is active wood rot, and they have very limited usage. These are not facilities that are conducive for attracting new youth exhibitors and their families to our fair and certainly not for attracting additional year-round events.”

The directors of the association set out to fulfill a long-term, grander vision they had for the fairgrounds.

“We envisioned that because of our location, we could attract regional year-round events, as well as host an impressive county fair, if we had the fairground buildings to accommodate such a plan,” said Fair Association Director Hannah Leach.

 The Posey County Fair Association long-term planning committee began the discussion of the new building in 2021.

“We approached CountryMark,” said McGennis, “CountryMark has been good to our community, and we believed they would see value in our vision to enhance our fairgrounds and our community.”

CountryMark did see the vision. The oil producer and refining company agreed to a sponsorship valued at up to $1 million.

“To say that exceeded our expectations would be an understatement,” said McGennis.

Matt Smorch is the President and CEO of CountryMark. “When we were approached about this building, we knew it was in alignment with our community goals,” said Smorch. “Posey County is home to our refinery, some of our crude oil production well sites, as well as our southern-most fuel terminal. This is where approximately 350 of our employees work and many of our employees live. We are grateful to call Posey County home and seek to make contributions that have a positive and long-term impact on the quality of life here in Posey County.”

CountryMark has had a long history of supporting the Posey County Fair Association and youth development programs.

“We’ve never missed a year of making a donation to the Posey County Fair Association in one way or another since I have been chairman of the CountryMark philanthropy committee,” said Jim Scarafia, who also serves as CountryMark’s Refinery Operations Manager.

“The Posey County Fair Association values are in alignment with CountryMark values,” Scarafia explained. “The fair association’s mission is to provide a safe, reliable, quality, and innovative space for the youth programs as well as community events. These are traits that build strong communities both in the short and long term.”

With the CountryMark donation in place, the association has begun sketching out plans for the CountryMark Expo Pavilion, which the association intends to unveil the plans at the 2024 Posey County Fair.

“We still have some fundraising to go to completely fund the Expo Pavilion, but we certainly have enough to begin the engineering and planning phases,” said Leach.

The CountryMark Expo Pavilion will be a large, open steel structure building. During the Posey County fair, the CountryMark Expo Pavilion will be home to cattle, hogs, sheep, horses, goats, rabbits, chickens, and their owners. Outside of the fair, the CountryMark Expo Pavilion will be used year round for events, shows and expositions of all kinds.

“Parking is plentiful at the Posey County fairgrounds,” Leach explained. “And we are conveniently located 4 miles from New Harmony, IN; 11 miles from Mt. Vernon, IN; and 24 miles from Evansville, IN; which will provide CountryMark Expo Pavilion visitors with access to a wide range of dining options as well as overnight lodging if needed.”

At the Posey County Fairgrounds, the CountryMark Expo Pavilion will replace the Cattle, Horse, Sheep, Goat, and Swine buildings, which were constructed between 1960-1970.

“These buildings are 60+ years old,” said McGennis. “It is time to retire these well used buildings and build modern facilities that can better serve our community and the guests we will host.”

Scarafia added that CountryMark is excited to be a partner to the Posey County Fair Association and to walk with them as they build what CountryMark believes will be a signature event center for Posey County and the tri-state area.

Learn more about the project here.

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