The Hartford Independent Fair opened on Saturday, August 4, in Croton, Ohio, and runs through Saturday, August 11. Traditionally, as the fair opens, members of the Hartford Junior Fair Board host the Hartford Fair King & Queen Contest, this year held at the fairground’s Tara Amphitheater.
Five queen candidates and four king candidates sought the coveted honor of representing the Junior Fair Board not only during the Hartford Fair, but also at a host of other events and parades throughout the coming year.
With a standing room only crowd on hand for the popular event Luke Park and Makenzie Westbrook were selected to serve as the 2018 Hartford Fair King and Queen.
Luke is a member of the National Roaders and Mystic Manes 4-H Clubs, and serves as both a 4-H Summer Camp Counselor and Junior Fair Board member. Luke is a senior home-schooled student, and is enrolled in the Central Ohio Technical College (COTC). He is the son of Todd and Kendra Park of Reynoldsburg.
Makenzie is a member of the Dream Achievers 4-H Club and has served as a 4-H Summer Camp Counselor. She is a Hartford Junior Fair Board member, serving as the Board President this year. She is a recent graduate of Watkins Memorial High School and will be attending Indiana Wesleyan this fall. She is the daughter of Lance and Jen Westbrook.
In addition to Park and Westbrook, members of the 2018 Hartford Fair Court are Seth Abel, CJ Martin, Evan Willeke, Cora Dorman, Dayna Martin, Arinne McLaughlin, and Randi Williams. Emceeing the event and crowning the new Hartford Independent Fair royalty were 2018 Hartford Fair King & Queen Brandon Fayh and Morgan McCutcheon.
During the event, 2016 Licking County 4-H Commodities and Species Royalty were introduced.
Ohio has 88 counties but 95 fairs. As an independent fair the Hartford Fair draws exhibitors from all of Licking County and portions of Delaware County and Knox County. The Hartford Fair was organized in 1858 with a focus on agriculture, a tradition that continues today, with 4-H exhibitors living on the fairgrounds in dormitories. There is also a dormitory for members of the Licking County 4-H Band.
Never been to the Hartford Fair? Don’t know how to get there? It’s easy. Take State Route 37 East through Sunbury, drive 16 miles to the edge of the Johnstown city limits then turn left onto Croton Road. Drive 6 miles and go through Croton (also known as Hartford Village). The Hartford Fairgrounds is located approximately two miles from the village on the right side of the road.
One final note: The Hartford Fairground boasts a large campground with service hookups, but don’t plan on camping at this year’s fair unless you already have a space reserved. Anyone wishing to schedule a week of family camping at the Hartford Fair is welcome to bring a checkbook and reserve a space … for next year.
For a complete 2018 Hartford Independent Fair schedule go to hartfordfair.com.
For additional fair information, or to inquire about the availability of Hartford Fairgrounds facilities during the off-season, call 740-893-4881; or Fax 740-893-4810. The Hartford Fair address is P.O. Box 317, 14028 Fairgrounds Road, Croton, Ohio 43013-0317.
This story and photos were provided by Lenny C. Lepola.