The Preble County Fair Board recently welcomed aboard new Fairgrounds Manager, James Mays.
Mays, previously a manager for SunBelt Rentals for 12 years, is excited for his new opportunity with the Fairgrounds.
“The biggest thing I see that needs to be done, is building relationships. You know, with the community, with the local business people, wanting them to see we are here for them. This is their Fairgrounds,” said Mays. “Just trying to get community involvement.”
“I think he’s a people person,” said Fair Board President Rodney Mann, who attributes Mays’ credibility and qualifications to his experience with SunBelt.
“I think it’s his personality. I think he can manage money well and bring in more activities,” said Mann.
Mays said one of his goals is to hold events such as festivals or car shows in the “off season,” April to July, and August to October.
The events are to be enjoyable with low entry costs, to make them accessible to anyone who is interested. The up-keep of the Fairgrounds is also held to a high standard by Mays, “to make the place look good, so when people come in, they see that we’re actually trying to do something,” Mays said.
Camping, as the Fairgrounds is technically also a campground, is another area Mays would like to see improve. Horse stables will also see improvements. “I’m big on appearance. If things look nice, it makes everybody feel better,” said Mays. “We’ve done some improvements. We’ve got some species in the works that are making improvements to their own … to help improve their part of it, along with our help. It’s just getting everybody involved.”
An increase in events held at the fairgrounds, and a face lift, is something Mays would like to see done simultaneously.
Repairs to the existing buildings will be done. This could include repairing electricity in the buildings, updating interior structure, as well as other repairs to bring the buildings up to regulation code. Recent state funding granted to the Fairgrounds will make these projects possible, says May.
By the time the funds come in, he hopes a plan will be in place to manage them.
“Safety is at the top of the list for everyone, just making sure we have a safe environment for our workers and our public.”
“Being involved with all aspects of the [Preble County] fair, I’m a 4H adviser, I got a horse club … I’ve worked with all species up here,” said Mays. “I’ve been involved with the animal aspect of it. I’m going to be learning cooking, sewing, food…”
Mays also participates as the announcer for the Preble County Demolition Derby, as well as the Tug-A-Truck, and has participated as a 4H adviser, with his club, Blazin’ Saddles, for eight years.
“If you go back 15 years, at what this Fairgrounds was, if it wasn’t the top fair in the state, it was in the top 10 of the state for the county fair. That’s what I want. I want this Preble County Fair to become The Preble County Fair for the State of Ohio, the best county fair in the State of Ohio,” said Mays. “That’s my plan … I think getting the community involvement, getting more kids involved in 4H, working with the extension office.”
With his new position, Mays will regularly attend the Fair Board meetings, held on site, to bring updates and project ideas to the board.
Mays’ involvement with the Fair Board is something Mann looks forward to. Mann believes the board will be “more informed on what’s going on on a daily basis” from a manager’s perspective.