The 143rd Fayette County Fair was considered a success, according to fair officials, as attendance and revenues were comparable to the previous two fairs.
“Last year, we had an excellent fair and the fact that this fair was on par with it is a very good situation,” said Dr. Bob Schwartz, the Fayette County Ag Society president.
“The revenues were similar to the previous two years,” said Doug Marine, the Fayette County Ag Society vice president. “We had good weather for the most part during fair week. The McDonald’s Grandstand activities went off well. The rodeo brought in a nice crowd and our NTPA Truck and Tractor Pull brought in a real nice crowd, which they normally do.”
The always-popular Community Night at the Races — sponsored by Fayette County Travel & Tourism, the Fayette County Ag Society, and the Fayette County Chamber of Commerce —was also a success on the Wednesday of the fair.
“We had a lot of local businesses involved with Community Night at the Races and it was good to get them involved,” said Marine.
The celebrity emcees for Community Night at the Races were 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.
“We were very appreciative of Bob and his wife, Dr. Mary Jo, coming down and being our emcees,” said Schwartz. “They did a great job and I thought it was very well-received. It was a very nice gesture on their part.”
The race program itself also went extremely well, according to Schwartz. It included the inaugural Charles and Ronald Rivers Memorial Trot. The purse for the race was $12,500, which was the largest purse in the state of Ohio for Signature Series harness racing.
“There were two new track records set Wednesday evening,” he said. “The pacing record was lowered by three seconds, which is unheard of to break a track record by that much.”
After being successful last year in its inaugural run, the Wiener Dog Races on the Wednesday of the fair grew even more in their second year.
“The wiener dog races were outstanding,” said Marine. “There was a nice increase in the numbers of participants and spectators.”
These races have created a buzz throughout the area.
“The wiener dog race has created a lot of interest…we’re getting a lot of questions from other fairs wanting to know how we handle it,” said Schwartz.
The event that drew the largest crowd — the School Bus Derby — was held on Thursday night of the fair. Five schools were involved: Miami Trace, Washington C.H., Greenfield, the DD Dragons and Fayette Christian, with the DD Dragons successfully defending their title from last year.
“It was a great success once again,” said Marine. “We’re one of the first fairs around this area to do this and we’ve been contacted by other fairs who want to get involved that ask us questions about it. So we look for this to grow in the area. And at our fair, we’re looking at expanding the school bus derby for next year.”
Other McDonald’s Grandstand events, including the Friday night pulls and the Saturday night demo derby, continued to draw big crowds.
The major setback at this year’s fair was that the grandstand renovation was not complete by the time the fair began. Temporary bleachers were set up for fair-goers in front of the grandstand.
“It was a less than desirable situation, but we made the best of what we had to work with,” said Marine. “We, the fair board, wish we would have had the project completed in time. It falls on our shoulders that it wasn’t complete, we’re the ones responsible.”
The original grandstand was built prior to 1900.
It was a remarkable year at the fair for junior fair livestock sales as there was a record of 452 buyers. The sales brought in over $500,000, according to fair officials.
“We certainly appreciate the support of the community in purchasing these projects and the work of our junior fair participants,” said Schwartz.
Another success at this year’s fair was the Adena Ride Day on Tuesday, when the first 600 kids at the gate were allowed in free between 2-6 p.m.
“We want to thank Adena,” said Marine. “It was once again well-received and a great activity for the fair and for the community. Also, R.D. Holder Oil Company should be recognized for providing the water to be handed out.”
The gate sponsor this year was Kettering Health and the wrist band sponsor was Doug Marine All Brands.
The senior fair board thanked the senior superintendents, junior superintendents, junior fair board, the Fayette County Extension crew, Fayette County EMS, local fire departments, the Fayette County Sheriff’s Office, and the fairgrounds staff — grounds-people and office staff.
The senior fair board is already preparing for the 144th Fayette County Fair, which will be held July 17-22.
Reach Record-Herald Editor Ryan Carter at 740-313-0352.