Some Changes Are Coming to the Belmont County Fair
Changes are on the agenda at the 169th annual Belmont County Fair, starting with the entrance fees.
Treasurer Malissa Campbell said fairgoers will see an increase in admission prices this year, with general admission now $10.
“It was $8 before,” said Campbell who also said the increase was a result of the fair’s need to support itself. “The last several years we have struggled with the high expense of what it costs to put on a fair, and we held off as long as we could as far as raising the admission. It just came to a point where we really needed to do something, because we weren’t even breaking even anymore.
“We’re hoping we raised it, not enough to shock people, but enough to get a decent return,” she said.
Campbell said no specific goal has been set for this year’s fair, which starts Tuesday and runs through Sept. 9.
The cost of a weeklong pass has also increased to $25 from the prior $23.
There also are some other changes, such as the decision to move the Senior Day to Friday.
“They will be admitted for free up until noon,” Campbell said. “They were typically on Thursdays, and Thursdays are also our fair field days where we have the local schools come in, so there are a lot of children on the grounds. We were trying to spread it out a little bit for everybody instead of having everybody brought in that one day.
Campbell said the horticulture and domestic arts buildings are particularly popular, with displays of antiques, crafts and photography. The field day for the students will remain Thursday, with the first bus transportation showing up around 8:30 a.m.
“We try to do things that are more on the educational side,” said Campbell who also said the Center of Science and Industry will usually have displays and activities.
One such new presentation focused on young people is Rockin in Ohio, The Real Popfusion, a community-focused organization partnered with the Oil and Gas Education Program.
“It’s interactive,” Campbell said. “They have some trivia they do with the kids.”
She also said about 20,000 visitors typically gain admittance during the course of the fair.
“And that’s not counting Junior Fair people,” she said.
They also look forward to performances Wednesday night by Rafter M Rodeo, which features trick-riding by Shadow Montag and 7-year-old Eme Martin. They will be riding to benefit The Arc of Ohio East, which helps people with autism.
Campbell said Rafter M has performed in prior years. This will be Eme Martin’s first appearance.
“People enjoy Rafter M because they’re local,” she said. “(Montag) has also given back to the community. He often times puts on different events…It’s a nice draw for people who want to come out and see them.”
The fair will use a new ride company this year, with Deshler Amusements Inc. providing entertainment. Campbell said fairgoers will enjoy the same caliber of entertainments they have seen during earlier fairs.
“We just felt they were going to be a good fit for us,” she said.
Another new event Saturday will be Mighty Mini Pullers, which allows people to bring in their souped-up lawn tractors.
Swifty Swine pig racing also will make a showing with its special racing pigs. The competition is Wednesday through Sunday.
The Zerbini Circus will also return.
Other returning favorites will be the truck and tractor pulls Friday and Saturday night, and a demolition derby Sunday.
The beef and swine barn also have new features.
“Every year we continue to grow,” Campbell said. “It seems each year we get bigger and bigger.”
“We’re definitely trying to change things up a bit,” said Becky Selmon, the fair’s secretary. “A lot of these things, they’re expensive. Getting in different acts and trying to find things that fit our budget makes it a little tough.”
Fair Board Member David Jones said volunteers are to thank for helping make the fair possible, including several inmates provided by the Belmont County Correctional Institution.