The 143rd-annual Fayette County Fair is almost here and will feature many familiar attractions and spectacles.
Even before the fair officially begins on Monday, July 18, there are several events happening on the fairgrounds. An open class swine show — open to exhibitors from any county — will be held Saturday morning at 10:30 a.m.
The fair’s opening celebration ceremony will be held at 2:30 p.m. Sunday at the McDonald’s Grandstand. The ceremony will include the crowning of the 2022 Fayette County Fair Queen. There are three candidates — Libby Aleshire, Abigail Brandt and Hidy Kirkpatrick.
Also at the ceremony, Dr. Daryl Waits, Jr. will be honored with the Fair Supporter Award. A graduate of The Ohio State University in 1998, Dr. Waits, Jr. joined the practice at the Fayette Veterinary Hospital. He has a strong interest in working with exotic pet animals in addition to the traditional pets normally seen at the hospital. He desires to help owners understand the health needs and requirements of their pets.
The Fayette County Ag Society, along with Jim Kirk and a host of 4-H/FFA exhibitors, thank Dr. Waits, Jr. for his many years of service to the Jr. Fair program.
The Guys & Gals Lead will be held at a new time this year — Sunday at the Sales Arena at 7 p.m. The new directors for the Lead are Amanda Ivey and Kristin Helsel.
Then on Monday, the fair officially opens for all patrons to enjoy. Fair hours are Monday-Saturday, 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. (Mahan Building closes at 9 p.m. nightly). Rides operate daily from 2 p.m. to 11 p.m. (exception — Monday rides begin at 4 p.m.). There is free grandstand and parking nightly.
There are expected to be around 25 rides at the fair.
General admission, which includes grandstand attractions, is $8. Children 24 months and under get in free (if the desire to ride $15 or tickets from ticket booth).
The grandstand renovation is not yet complete and temporary bleachers will be set up in front of the grandstand. The bleachers will hold approximately 1,200 people, according to Doug Marine, the Fayette County Ag Society vice president.
“Unfortunately, we were unable to get the grandstand project completed before the opening of the fair,” said Marine. “We still have, for certain events — such as the rodeo, truck and tractor pulls, and demolition derbies — infield and on-track seating for an additional fee.”
The original grandstand was built prior to 1900.
“In the early 1900s, they built a porch area onto the front of the grandstands,” Marine said. “That section fell into a state of disrepair and there were issues with the footer and foundation. We chose to remove that portion and go back to the original footprint of the original grandstands. We ran into issues in getting the structure approved and inspected. Also, we had issues getting our blueprints and plans approved and inspected. That’s what has set us back in getting the project done.”
Marine spoke about the specifics of the project.
“The Department of Agriculture and the State of Ohio had a grant fund last year and we received $50,000 from that grant to go towards the grandstand project,” he said. “At the completion of the project, our patrons will find a new handicap accessibility ramp set up that will be up to date to today’s standards. There will be a handicap seating area with buddy seats, which our patrons should find very nice compared to what we’ve had in the past. There will be new lighting and an actual ceiling in the grandstand. Handrails to make better accessibility for all patrons. And a new architectural design to the front, characteristic of the original. I think everyone will be very pleased with the results.”
The gate sponsor this year is Kettering Health and the wrist band sponsor is Doug Marine All Brands.
Monday is also Veteran’s Day when veterans are admitted free of charge. The main attraction Monday evening is the Rolling Stone Rodeo, sponsored by SVG Motors.
Tuesday is the Adena Ride Day, when the first 600 kids at the gate will be allowed in free between 2-6 p.m. The NTPA Truck and Tractor Pull will get underway at 7 p.m.
After being successful last year in its inaugural run, the Wiener Dog Races — sponsored by Red Collar Pet Foods and the Fayette County Ag Society — return on Wednesday at noon. The finals will be held at approximately 8:30 p.m.
“This year, a lot of people are waiting and seeing what the weather is going to be like before they enter the wiener dog races, but we’ve had a lot of interest and phone calls,” said Faith Cottrill-Marine, the secretary at the fairgrounds. “Last year, the prize was $500 and this year it’s $1,000.”
Community Night at the Races — sponsored by Fayette County Travel & Tourism, the Fayette County Ag Society, and the Fayette County Chamber of Commerce — will also be held Wednesday, beginning at 5 p.m. The celebrity emcees for Community Night at the Races will be Bob and Mary Jo Kendrick.
Bob Kendrick is the ABC 6 and Fox 28 news anchor and Dr. Mary Jo (Jacobson) Kendrick was the 1991 Fayette County Fair Queen. Both will be track-side to take the audience through the races and many prize giveaways. Place your bets, win some prizes and have a stellar evening.
Thursday is Senior Citizen’s Day at the fair when all seniors are admitted free of charge all day long.
There will be two Jr. Fair livestock sales at this year’s fair — one Thursday and one Friday. At Thursday’s sale beginning at 5:30 p.m., livestock sold will be (in sale order): hogs, beef steer, beef feeder, dairy feeder, dairy steer, and sheep.
The auctioneers donating their time for the sales on both nights are: Nick Cummings, Casey Smith, Chris Cottrill, and Travis Mick.
Also Thursday night is the School Bus Derby, sponsored by North Valley Bank, beginning at 7 p.m. Five schools are involved: Miami Trace, Washington C.H., Greenfield, the DD Dragons and Fayette Christian.
Last year was the inaugural School Bus Derby and it was a smashing success.
“Last year’s school bus derby was probably the largest crowd that has ever congregated in the history of grandstand infield events at this fairgrounds,” said Marine.
Friday includes an open class sheep show at 9 a.m. in the Hog Pavilion. The annual Pedal Pull, sponsored by Anderson Equipment, will be held at 4 p.m. at the Small Animals Barn. Registration for the Pedal Pull is from 3-4 p.m.
Friday’s Jr. Fair livestock sale begins at 5:30 p.m. Livestock sold will be (in sale order): turkeys, rabbits, chickens, dairy goats, and meat goats.
The Stock Truck Pull, sponsored by John Hinderer Ford, will kick off at 6 p.m. at the McDonald’s Grandstand.
On Saturday — the final day of the 2022 Fayette County Fair — there will be an open class cattle show beginning at 10 a.m. The Fayette County Classic Harness Racing at the McDonald’s Grandstand will begin at 11 a.m. The Showman of Showmen competition will be held at 4 p.m.
And finally, the Smash It Demolition Derby, sponsored by Rent 2 Own, will be held at 7 p.m. at the McDonald’s Grandstand.