The Castor Farmers Market had a successful year. 28 vendors took part in the Castor Christmas Market on Dec. 1. (File photo)

The Castor Farmers Market had a successful year. 28 vendors took part in the Castor Christmas Market on Dec. 1. (File photo)

Castor Ag. Society remains in positive position

Despite a couple of pandemic challenged years, members and the public heard that the Castor and District Agricultural Society is in good shape during the annual meeting on Jan. 16, 2023.

With pandemic-era restrictions lifting in 2022, the society was able to get back into hosting events in the Castor Community Hall and at the rodeo grounds which was again able to generate revenue.

When the events were combined with donations, grants, and fundraising activities, the agricultural society raised just short of $110,000 in 2022, according to un-audited financial statements.

A highlight for the Agricultural society was the Castor Rodeo, which is the only group under the society to turn a profit. The one-day rodeo, which took place in July in 2022 after getting rained out in June, made just under $15,000.

While the society still found itself in a deficit position, the deficit for 2022 was less than $10,000, and left the society with more than $140,000 in the bank accounts at the end of the year.

Looking at the year ahead, with more events planned the society is optimistically projecting just under $125,000 in revenue, with expenditures to match to cover increased supplies such as food and cleaning materials, increased wages for the contracted cleaning staff, and an increase to $10,000 for needed repairs and maintenance.

Another bit of good news for the Castor and District Agricultural Society pertains to the debenture on the Castor Community Hall. The debenture, which started at $410,000, has as of the end of 2022 been paid down to just over $36,000 remaining on the principle amount.

“We could pay the whole thing off right now,” said society treasurer Larry Weber.

Weber did note that the intention is not to pay it off quite yet, but keep making the routine payments as the society and the town are both “on the hook” for the interest payments which still need to be paid down over the next 10-12 years.

After the financial component of the annual meeting was completed, each of the sub-committees reported.

The rodeo reported a positive response to the pig-roast held in June 2022 which say 175 community members in attendance.

Returning post-COVID, the Castor and District Fair held in August 2022 came back to significant participation declines, most notably in student writing and art as conveners didn’t want to add that to the already taxed teachers workload before the end of the year. Conveners did note they are optimistic that things will improve for 2023.

Kelsey Seth, organizer of the Castor Farmer’s Market noted that 2022 was “a much better year” with markets averaging 14 tables from February to December showcasing 64 separate vendors; nearly thirty of the vendors were new to the market in 2022.

The hall committee noted that between a pair of RV groups, and other users through the year, the facility had seen a significant uptick in use. Users in 2022 included pickleball, and Gus Wetter School’s Raider Theatre.

Don Sisson, who gave the report, commented that it was “awesome to see” the youth using the facility. Sisson also noted that some of the people attending the RV group had bought Little Theatre, which is making a return in 2023, tickets as well.

SEE ALSO: 2023 Castor Little Theatre production set for February debut

A new group under the Agricultural Society is the Castor WinterFest, which made a comeback in 2022 after being on ice for over a decade.

The 2023 edition promises to be bigger and better than the 2022 edition, and plans are to keep growing the event.

SEE ALSO: Castor WinterFest set to make February return

Prior to adjourning the annual meeting, the date for the next annual meeting was set for Jan. 15, 2024.

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