After a slow start because of rain, the Highland County Fair wrapped up its seven days of rides, food and events for its 75th anniversary on Saturday, Sept. 10
“It was great to have people out and about and visiting and socializing in person and celebrating the youth and agriculture in the community,” said Highland County Fair Board President Mark Baldwin.
Baldwin said the weather at the beginning of the week hurt the fair’s initial attendance, but overall the number of fair goers rebounded to pre-pandemic levels. He said Tuesday and Wednesday nights drew larger than normal crowds. “It was the biggest Wednesday we’ve had in at least five or six years,” he said.
“In the beginning, over the weekend, there was just so much rain, and a lot of events were cancelled, and I think that really hurt, but as far as numbers go, we made up for it a lot toward the end of the week because people wanted to come and they came and showed their support,” said Baldwin.
Apart from the rain, Baldwin said there were no major setbacks during this year’s fair. “We had great camping, great rides, great friendships between everybody, and the motocross was a big draw and it shows,” he said.
Overall, Baldwin rated the fair as excellent, and he said that although it wasn’t record breaking, the county had a good fair. “Friday night we had some tractor pulls with some problems, and we didn’t finish pulling until late into the night,” he said. “When half the crowd is still sitting on the hill and you’ve got all your participants still sitting there, you just go on because there are die-hard fans who wanted to watch.”
The fair has been shortened from an eight-day event to seven days the last couple years to save on costs. “From eight days to seven, I don’t think there’s any hurt whatsoever, it’s just more of a jam-packed arena where if you come there is something going on all the time,” said Baldwin. “Saturday, at the beginning of the weekend, there’s just a lot of animals, a lot of things come into the fair so there’s not a lot of attendance per se, but there’s a lot of activity with things going in and out setting up for the fair.”
The dates for next year’s Highland County Fair will be set within the next month when the schedule is approved by the Ohio Department of Agriculture. “Barring anything else, I assume it will still be during Labor Day Week,” said Baldwin.
Baldwin said no major changes are planned for next year’s fair so far. “I’m sure there are going to be some changes, but as far as anything right now, we’ve already started planning for the future, and I think that will continue on for the next several months, and we’ll see what events we can plan and things that can happen and change to make things better,” he said.
Baldwin said the fair board is working on improvements to the Wharton Building. “What we’re really striving for is to turn it into more of a venue with bathrooms to be able to hold weddings and big business meetings,” he said. The board is also working to secure funding for a new livestock building.
In the near future there will be a campout for Halloween on the fairgrounds with a band performing on a Saturday night. Some auctions will also be held on the fairgrounds in the coming weeks.
Reach John Hackley at 937-402-2571.