‘Harvesting Memories’ theme of Fair
By Evelyn Long -
Ron Williams, director with the Morrow County Agricultural Society, invites the public to attend the 162nd Morrow County Fair which begins August 27 and runs through September 3.
A director from Washington Township for 25 years, Williams describes the fair as “rural America.” “It’s down to earth with whom I call the common folk –plain people attending — the older people love coming to the fair — seeing people they don’t see that often,” said Williams. He also agrees with Mary Weiler.
Weiler, secretary with the board for the past six years, has been associated with the fair for the past 17 years and married Tim Weiler, a board member, 16 years ago. “The fair is a great thing for the kids,” she said. “We all do this to make sure the kids get to do their projects.”
Dan Rogers, board president and an at-large director for the past 20 years, said he and other board members work hard to keep expenses down when repairs or improvements are made on the grounds. This year, the old hog barn, “done in by the last flood,” was razed. All of that work stayed local, said Rogers, with credit to Maurice Hootman who hauled it away to its recycling at Mid-State Waste (Mark Phillips).
Rogers said the draft horse barn area battered by water from underground leaks for many years, was repaired when new water lines, and an elevated hydrant replaced the old galvanized steel pipes. The cost of $5300 was minimal thanks to the work of J R Levering and Hootman, said Rogers, whom he names as “unsung heroes,” because of the hours they deliver to the fairgrounds.
Rogers added the electric on the midway was updated and damaged seats in the grandstand were repaired and replaced by board members. A new concrete pad was poured at the beef barn and the scales moved so only the beef cattle can be weighed there freeing up the original weighing pad and scale for other animals.
Rogers also praised Consolidated Electric and Young Electric as ‘godsends’ for always being on call to help.
Weiler said new carpet has been placed on the floor of the fair board office and paint applied to the walls. Landscaping has been updated; “there is always something going on,” she said with a smile.
Weiler noted that during harness racing on Monday and Tuesday evenings at 5:30 pm there will be prizes awarded to spectators in the grandstand. This is in charge of the speed committee.
She noted there new financial supporters of the fair this year: J R Equipment of Delaware; Crop Production Service, Edison; The Gleaners who are sponsoring a tent; Dr. Stephen Ritz, DDS; Matt Harris landscaping and Cardington Yatuka.
Weiler’s job is a year round process. Reports from the current fair must be completed by November, ready for the December meeting of the board and sent to the Ohio Department of Agriculture by January, 2013. Work begins in soliciting ads for the next year’s fair book in November and December and concessionaires are contacted for next year’s fair in April, 2013.
Entries for this year’s fair are down by 54, she said, but there are 21 more exhibitors.
There are also 149 more chickens entered. All of the campsites are filled.
She noted the season passes are now $25. Membership passes, which allow the holder to vote in the annual election, remain at $3. This year for the first time, a Code of Conduct is required to be signed by all who sign a form that involves participation in the fair such as a parent, a participant, agent, representative and/or exhibitor or attendee.
Grand marshals at this year’s parade will be Glade Bachelder, a board member for 27 years and Sam Miller, a board member for 15 years, both of whom are retired from the board. Weiler praises her staff for the great assistance they give her. Jean Staiger, Bridget Adams and Mckenzie Cox will graciously answer questions and help wherever they can.
Senior Day at the fair when all senior citizens 62 and above are admitted free from 7 am to 4 pm, will be observed on Tuesday, August 28. Veterans Day at the fair will be Sunday, September 2, when veterans with proper military ID will be admitted free from 7 am to 4 pm. They will also be honored during the grandstand program at noon.
A highlight of the fair will be the 2012 American Motosports Motocross Championship
Round 14 at the Morrow County Fair on Wednesday, August 29. The practice will begin at 6 pm and the race occurs at 7:30 pm.
Weiler noted an addition to the Sunday night grandstand attraction when two wheel drive pickup truck figure eight racing will take place along with school bus racing. Otterbacher Amusements are again bringing a variety of rides and concessions.
Daily sponsors of the fair include the Morrow County Commissioners; Discount Drug Mart, Blackstone Insurance Agency,Inc and German Mutual Insurance Co., Ramco Rental, Incl, Touchstone Energy Day by Consolidated Electric Cooperative, Burkhart Farm Center, Incl, Poet Bio Fuelt Refining and Snow Trails. Earth Day will be observed Wednesday, August 29.
There will be a variety of entertainment on the small stage. Kingston of Marion is sponsoring the playing of bingo for seniors on Senior Day.
Junior fair coordinator Julie Logan said, “Numbers are close to the past (entries), some departments have a few more, some a few less. BUSY as usual, early judging went well. Many wonderful still projects completed that will be on display during the fair. Have made some farm visits and have seen some nice looking livestock projects out there. Exhibitors are doing a nice job of taking care of their animals. Booths are set, barns are being cleaned, awards are being made ready. Never a dull moment in the junior fair. Hopefully, we will have a mild week for weather during the fair. Come on out.”
As Williams points out, “with gas prices so high, people can stay close to home and visit the Morrow County Fair and find plenty of entertainment.”
The board also welcomes all to visit their new web site at http://www.morrowcountyfair.org
The fair board office can be reached by calling 419–947-1611. The junior fair office number is 419–947-1657.