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Late Sheriff Remembered, Royalty Crowned At Jefferson County Fair

SMITHFIELD — As they prepared for a week full of activities and entertainment, organizers of the Jefferson County Fair took time to remember a long-time supporter of the event and crown local youth as its king, queen, prince and princess.

On Monday, family members of the late Fred Abdalla, including his son, Sheriff Fred Abdalla Jr., were invited to join Jefferson County commissioners in cutting a ribbon for the fair’s opening ceremonies.

Ray Hilderbrand, the fair board’s president, said following the senior Abdalla’s death earlier this year, the board considered ways to honor the late sheriff, who had been a regular presence at the fair.

Hilderbrand noted Abdalla had been named Outstanding Supporter of the Fair and grand marshal of the fair’s parade. He said the decision was made to name him parade marshal again and ask his family to represent him in the procession, which will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday.

Hilderbrand added that an office on the fairgrounds where Abdalla and his deputies have kept regular hours has been named for him.

The fair board president said Abdalla’s involvement with the fair went beyond that.

He and others noted the late sheriff’s interest in the activities of local youth tied to the fair and the various times he purchased livestock up on the auction block to donate to a local food pantry.

Hilderbrand said Abdalla would arrive early in the morning to check on the fairgrounds and cheerfully greeted the many people he encountered there.

“Everybody knew and loved Fred. We’re going to miss him,” he said.

Hilderbrand said news of Abdalla’s death came to him through Loretta Finney, a former fair director who also died this year. He said the survivor of polio didn’t let any residual effects of the disease keep her from overseeing the event for 20 years.

He also tipped his hat to Debbie Hukill, the fair board’s treasurer, who he revealed has become the first woman to be named to the District 9 board of the Ohio Fair Managers Association.

Hukill will serve a three-year term on the board, which represents nine county fairs.

The opening ceremonies were followed by the crowning of the fair’s royalty, who were determined through an application and interview measuring their community involvement, leadership skills and other qualities.

This year’s royalty are: Prince Caleb Miller, the son of Scott and Christy Miller; Princess Kaitlynn Merkel, the daughter of Heather and Jason Merkel; Queen Allison Bell, the daughter of Tish and Don Bell; King Raleigh Doyle, the son of Don and Alana Doyle; and queen’s court members Corissa Griffith, the daughter of Steve and Melissa Griffith; Emma Morrison, the daughter of Bob Morrison and Autumn Francis; and Lindsey Zifzal, the daughter of Dwayne and Melissa Zifzal.

In addition to assorted food and amusement rides, each day at the fair offers a variety of activities and entertainment. Admission each day is $10 for everyone except senior citizens who present proof they are 70 or older and children 2 and under. But today all children 12 and under will be admitted free.

For a complete fair schedule, visit https://jeffersoncountyfairofficial.com/daily-happenings/


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