CIRCLEVILLE — The 2021 Pickaway County Fair is officially underway as opening ceremonies kicked off the festivities Sunday afternoon.
Pickaway County Fair Board Volunteer Christy Pence emceed the event, sharing highlights of the fair this week, introducing dignitaries from around the state and sharing proclamations that the Pickaway County Fair Board received for the event.
Pence shared a perspective on the fair this year as no longer being as involved on the board.
“The senior fair board is always trying new things and striving for excellence,” Pence said. “I’m super proud of all of them for coming together and building things for youth in our community to showcase everyone’s hard work.”
Von Cremeans, Fair Board President, spoke about the fair board volunteers and the work they’ve put in to make this ‘an awesome fair.’” Cremeans said he was glad they can move on this year from the 2020 fair that was marred by COVID and added rules and regulations.
“[Fellow fair board members] work so hard and take a lot of grief from people who won’t read and don’t follow rules and yell and scream at them,” he said. “But they like it. It’s a labor of love. If you see them, thank them. They give up a lot of their time and life to make this a better place.”
Cremeans said he hopes everyone enjoys this year’s fair.
“Everything we do is for the kids and the community and hopefully this is the best fair that we’ve ever had,” he said. “We’ve been through tearing down the fairgrounds, fighting the mud and COVID. This fair is going to be the best one.”
Mckayla Robinson, Junior Fair Board President, shared what the junior fair board and fair mean to her.
“A bunch of really special youth get together to help run the fair and make it happen,” she said. “We all cherish the fair and look forward to it every year. It certainly wouldn’t be possible without our youth participating.
Jay Wippel, Pickaway County Commissioner, said the fairgrounds as they are, with the newly paved parking lot eliminating the issues with mud from 2019, is the vision they had when they started the revitalization process more than five years ago.
“We hope that all of you are as proud of this facility as you are,” he said. “We continue to work with the fair board and they do a great job. We’ve got new electronic locks and security cameras up because that’s what folks want to rent these facilities.”
Wippel spoke about all the other events and the “other 51 weeks of the year” and how the facilities have been used by other shows and events.
“We hope that you all get to come out here and enjoy what we have because it’s a special place,” he said. “Thanks to Von and the fair board members. They work their butts off and it’s a great partnership between the commissioners office and the fair board.”
Harold “Champ” Henson, commissioner, said the effort is visible in the facility.
“It’s extremely gratifying to see what this has become and what it is becoming,” he said. “Thanks to the Junior Fair Board, Senior Fair Board and the Ag Society. There are a lot of parts of this that nobody sees, but it all has to happen for something this good to happen. Thanks for being here and enjoy your fair and enjoy your fairgrounds.”
Brian Stewart, District 78 Representative to the Ohio House and former county commissioner, spoke about the effort that the fair board took to make the fair happen in 2021.
“There were an awful lot of people at different levels at the state in different agencies who didn’t want any kind of fair to happen anywhere,” he said. “At one of those meetings, toward the end, when things were getting heated, I said that I don’t care if we have to call it an agricultural protest, we were having a fair. This fair board took an awful lot of arrows from people who don’t live in our community and a lot of people I don’t think could spell 4-H.”
Stewart said the fair board met the new 50 regulations that were put on local fairs last year.
“They did it in spite of being screamed at, people looking over their shoulder and second guessing them,” he said. “I said at the opening ceremonies last year we had the eyes of the state on us. I want to say we did not fail and we had a fantastic fair and I remember talking with an awful lot of families that said we didn’t get a prom, didn’t get a graduation, a championship game and thanked everyone for making sure it happened.”
State Senators Bob Peterson and Tim Schaffer presented the board with a proclamation from the Ohio Senate. Peterson said the fair allows for the growth of future leaders
“That’s why you let people yell and scream at you,” he said. “The first speech I ever gave was a 4-H safety speech that wasn’t very good. The first meeting I ran was as president of the A-Ok 4-H Club. That’s what fairs and 4-H do, is develop leaders. Thank you for all you do and let’s keep developing leaders.”
Schaffer, echoing what Stewart said, said people didn’t think they could do the fair last year, but it happened.
“That shows what you can do when you pull together,” he said. “You can lift some incredible tasks and do incredible things. You showed the rest of the state of Ohio it could be done. They didn’t think anyone could do it, but you did it.”