Now that another Delaware County Fair is in the books, the 2017 edition was deemed a success.
“The only complaint we had was that it was a little warm,” said fair General Manager Sandy Kuhn. “We were down a little bit (3 percent) from last year overall on paid gate attendance, but we were right on par for 2015. It was a good year.”
Among those numbers were over 41,000 who attended Thursday’s Little Brown Jug harness race.
“Alcohol receipts were down a little from last year. Apparently it was too hot to drink,” Kuhn said. In addition, food concessions were down, but other drinks were up, perhaps attributable due to the unseasonably hot weather.
There were no major issues with cleanliness, and the new companies that were involved with that aspect may be invited back, Kuhn said. The rides went smoothly in Bates Amusements’ last year on the midway. Three potential companies interested in being the new ride vendor are making their pitches, she said. A decision should be made in November.
Although fewer people were hired for parking vehicles, they worked efficiently. In addition, no animals were quarantined due to swine flu.
“We did get a call about a goat’s head stuck between the fences, and me and two other guys went over and got its head unstuck,” Kuhn said, laughing.
A sign by the WDLR stage talks about future fair improvements funded by a county bed tax, and the permit process has already begun to get them done for next year’s fair — tearing down a Junior Fair building, and updating the men’s restroom under the grandstand. In addition, some folks may have noticed improvements to the grounds, such as a fresher-looking Arts and Crafts building and pumpkins courtesy of Buckeye Valley FFA.
Of course, a big part of county fairs is the Junior Fair, and 2017 was no exception.
“Overall, the Fair went really well,” said Laryssa Hook, an Ohio State University Extension Educator who works with the 4-H groups in the Junior Fair administrative office. While Hook said the number of entrants held steady, “We had more kids who brought what they said they were going to bring.”
The Junior Fair Sales are a chance for businesses, nonprofits and groups to be active in the community by purchasing livestock during two nights of auctions.
“The Delaware County Foundation was pleased to be a part of the livestock sale at the Junior Fair for the first time this year,” said Marlene Casini, President. “It’s important to recognize these youth for all the responsibility and leadership they develop all year long through nurturing and tending to their animals. Delaware County’s agricultural heritage is being carried on by these great young people, and that makes it an honor to participate.
“I was also impressed by so many parents who thanked the Foundation for being at the Junior Fair sale and participating, even if our bids were not for their children’s animals,” Casini said. “It was truly a great connection to our agricultural community.”
“I think the sale prices were pretty good for the kids,” Kuhn said. “That’s what it’s about, the culmination of a project, and to be able to sell that animal, and make some money. I think all in all, it was a successful fair, and hopefully a lot of fun family memories were created.”
Those memories are passed down, sometimes for multiple generations. For example, Junior Fair coordinator Bev Tidd is a 4-H alumni who has also worked 27 years at the fair. Her family has shown everything from still exhibits to swine.
“My parents went through here, I went through here together with my best friend, my kids went through here, and I’m starting with my first grandchild,” Tidd said. “I told my granddaughter, you’ll learn along the way. You’ll learn how to get along and how to compete. I told her, you’ll win gracefully, and you’ll lose gracefully.
“For me, it’s a family affair,” Tidd continued. “One year, I told the principal my kids are going to miss a day of school because they’ll be at the fair, and he said, they’ll probably learn more in that one day than they would in a week here. It’s not about the win, it’s about what you learn. It’s not about the trophies, it’s about the lifelong friendships.”
For more information, visit http://www.delawarecountyfair.com/