EATON — The Preble County Agricultural Society Board of Directors (Fair Board) will consider changing the fair schedule in the next few months.
During a meeting on Thursday, Aug. 16, Harold Niehaus suggested revising the fair schedule and by the end of the night the board had resolved to form a committee to discuss doing just that.
“I would like to propose that you look at the fair agenda, everything that you have on it, both open class and junior fair and that you would wipe the board clean and start over. Reason being — you have State Fair that now overlaps us, but when I watch the kids and families I see them struggle with the schedule we have,” Niehaus said.
“I don’t think we have to do that. Probably the only way we’re going to accomplish something better, is by starting over and looking at what we want. A couple examples, I know the sewing kids, the kids that go to State Fair go up on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. Thursday evening we have the Style Revue. Kids that have the Thursday opportunity, a lot of time can’t make it back for the other part of their project.”
“I just think if we would look at everything we want to do and position it, we would do a lot better for the kids and the families,” Niehaus said. “It is an idea, I would be more than willing to help, if you want any help. If you do it, my proposal would be having a series of two hour meetings, probably three weeks in a row. Let people know by Nov. 1 or Nov. 15, whatever you decide. So people would know well in advance. I just think we could help kids and families out.”
Later in the meeting, it was proposed that a committee be developed to pursue this idea, with Niehaus at the helm. Another member of the public suggested moving the date of fair all together — this change, she explained, would not be immediate, but would be something that would slowly happen over the next several years.
Her reasoning included the fact the State Fair is the same week as the Preble County Fair. If the fair could be moved up, then exhibitors would not have conflicts with the State Fair and would be able to enjoy both fairs without stressing about timing and schedules.
The Fair Board asked her to look into this potential change and report back on her findings.
Another hot topic during the board meeting was the change in the Sale of Champions auction this year.
During public participation, Gary Rader said, “I’m interested to hear your guys’ conversation as far as the changes this year. The new tagging system, which was a joke, and the way the sale got handled this year, and whether you guys will be open to look at changing some things for this fair, because it is about the kids.”
“If you look at the bottom line, with what the kids animals sold for this year, it has affected the kid’s bottom line,” Rader said. “I had one board member tell me it was about time the Sale of Champions come back to reality. If any of you sat through the sale and saw what it brought, compared to what it brought in the past, it was a disgrace to the kids.
“If you guys can’t grip reality that this fair is about the kids, it is time for you to look in the mirror.”
One board member questioned, “How many add-ons did the kids get? That’s right — we don’t know yet.”
Another board member questioned whether add-ons can be included when talking about whether the sale was a success, but other’s pointed out that add-ons have always been a part of the Sale of Champions.
Another member of the public pointed out, the changes to the Sale of Champion made the regular sale more successful — as the sale took less time and there were still buyers left to bid on regular sale livestock.
According to the results from the entire sale, this year was down from 2017 by $25,080.49. Total sales in 2017 was $439,012.90, while the 2018 total was $401,259.10. However, according to the average per animal sold, only steers and broilers were down this year. Feeder calves, goats, turkeys, rabbits, sheep, and swine were all up.
As for the tagging system, different methods of tagging cattle in the future were discussed, including having advisors come to houses and tag the livestock, so cows never have to leave their homes and risk getting sick.
Reach Kelsey Kimbler at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @KKimbler_RH