With state funding of over $92,000 finally in hand, the Madison County Agricultural Society (a.k.a. Senior Fair Board) is getting down to the business of making repairs and improvements to the fairgrounds in London.
State Representative Chris Widener first announced in December 2006 that the funding would be part of Ohio’s capital budget. The check was cut on Jan. 31, 2008, and the fair board received the check last month.
“Dave Gallimore, who heads up our buildings and grounds committee, Dennis Long, and everyone else on that committee are getting bids now and materials,” said Fair Board President Tom Fisher.
The funds will pay for projects that include replacing the FFA Barn roof, installing a transformer to bring electricity to the grandstand infield for campers and activities, painting and making minor repairs to the grandstand, fixing ruptured water lines, replacing lights in the the Grange Hall, and expanding the sound system to cover the entire fairgrounds, among other projects.
Fair project release date
Grounds improvements won’t be the only changes people see at the Madison County Fair this year. At their March 5 meeting, the fair board firmed up three sets of rule changes, one of which involves the day and time for tear-down at the end of the fair.
In the past, exhibitors could start taking their animals home and tearing down their displays on Saturday night, the last night that the fair is open to the public. The same schedule applied to commercial exhibitors.
This year, the rules require animals not marketed in the livestock sale and other Junior Fair displays to remain on the fairgrounds until 9 a.m. on Sunday, the day after the fair closes to the public. The same goes for commercial exhibits located in the Commercial Buildings. (This year’s fair dates are July 5-12. The project release date is July 13.)
One of the reasons for the change is safety, Fisher said. The last Saturday of the fair attracts many visitors. In the past, as they were coming in, the exhibitors were going out, creating a large moving crowd and the potential for accidents.
The schedule change also was made to make sure visitors are getting the full fair experience.
“We shouldn’t have people packing up at 5 p.m. on Saturday when we still have paying customers coming in the gate,” Fisher said. “In order to have a full-week fair, we need to have everybody there and exhibits for people to see.”
There will be exceptions to the release rule, such as the ride company, commercial exhibitors not in buildings, and concessionaires, who will be able to leave at 11 p.m. on Saturday. Additionally, Junior Fair and commercial exhibitors can request early release times, which will be considered on a case by case basis, as will emergency situations, Fisher said.
Grievances/protests during fair
The fair board’s other two rule changes apply specifically to Junior Fair exhibitors, one of them being the way grievances and protests are handled during fair week. Basically, Fisher said, the final decisions are now completely in the hands of the Senior Fair Board.
The grievance and protest committee is made up of the Senior Fair Board president and three fair board members. The committee will investigate written grievances with the help of the Junior Fair coordinator and assistant, Extension educators, 4-H advisors, Junior Fair Livestock Sales Committee members, FFA advisors and FCCLA advisors. If either of the parties involved in the protest disagrees with the committee’s findings, the Senior Fair Board’s executive board will make the final call.
Animal Weight Requirements
The third rule change involves minor adjustments to the weight requirements for animals. The adjusted list, showing minimum and maximum weights, is as follows:
• broiler chickens—3.5 to 6 pounds; possession is recommended around May 20, 2008
• turkey—20 to 30 pounds; hatched after Jan. 1, 2008
• production geese—8 to 17 pounds; hatched after Jan. 1, 2008
• production ducks—6 to 12 pounds; hatched after Jan. 1, 2008
• rabbit fryers—3 to 5 pounds; not over 70 days old
• hogs—220 pounds or more; born after Dec. 15, 2007
• sheep—95 pounds or more; born after Jan. 1, 2008
• goats—50 pounds or more; born after Dec. 15, 2007
• start-a-steer—200 to 450 pounds; born after Jan. 1, 2008
• beef feeder—350 to 899 pounds
• dairy feeder—350 to 899 pounds
• market steer—900 pounds or more; born after Jan. 1, 2007
• market heifer—900 pounds or more; born after Jan. 1, 2007.
For more information about any part of the Madison County Fair, visit the Senior Fair Board’s Web site at madisoncountyfairoh.com.