County fair might be one day longer this year

The Madison County Fair Board hopes to extend this year’s fair by a day to accommodate a second day of harness racing.
The Madison County Fair Board hopes to extend this year’s fair by a day to accommodate a second day of harness racing.

(Posted Jan. 22, 2016)

By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor

The Madison County Senior Fair Board is looking to add a day to this year’s fair.

Traditionally, the summer event runs from Sunday to Saturday. Fair leaders want to start a day earlier to accommodate more harness racing.

“The number of entries we had last year was more than triple the normal number, so it is almost impossible to have a one-day race,” said Darrell Champer, fair board president.

The board has applied to the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) to add Saturday, July 9 to this year’s fair schedule. The fair dates as they stand now are July 10-16. If the extra day is granted, the only event open to the public on July 9 would be harness racing; the midway and exhibits would not open until July 10. The second day of harness racing would take place on July 10.

“We should know any day now,” Champer said of ODA’s decision.

Other new developments for this year’s fair include a schedule change for the popular drag racing event that lets anyone race anything on the grandstand track.

“It was on Sunday night last year, but it was so successful, we’re moving it to Monday and starting earlier so that we have a longer day of racing. Last year, it didn’t end until 1 in the morning,” Champer said.

Also new this year are antique tractor and miniature tractor pulls, taking the place of the NTPA tractor on Wednesday night of the fair. The Mid Ohio Antique Tractor Pullers previously held events at Plain City’s Pastime Park. They now plan to hold at least three pulls at the Madison County Fairgrounds, one in May, another in June, and one during the fair in July.

As fair board members continue to firm up entertainment plans for the 2016 fair, they also are making improvements to the grounds. The focus now is on expansion of parking, fixing areas prone to retaining water after storms, and adding campsites.

“We converted the grassy area (near the Elm Street entrance) to a parking lot and will work on other areas as finances allow to help us through bad weather,” Champer said.

“We added over 20 sites to our camping last year and hope to continue to expand this year,” he continued, adding that the board typically receives 60 more requests for campsites for fair week than they can accommodate.

Several Madison County Fair Board members attended the annual Ohio Fair Managers Convention Jan. 7-10, where they gathered ideas for this year’s fair and future fairs. The board’s next regular meeting is set for 7:30 p.m. Feb. 3 at the fairgrounds, 205 Elm St., London. Meetings are open to the public.

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