EATON — Junior Fair royalty, representatives from the State Auditor’s Office and the Ohio Secretary of State, and State Representative Rodney Creech were present as members of the Preble County Honor Guard took part in a flag ceremony at the county fairgrounds on Saturday to mark the commencement of festivities for the 2021 Preble County Fair.
Honor Guard members performed a gun salute as the flag near the front gate of the fairgrounds was lowered and then raised. Senior Fair Board president Clinnie Stevenson spoke briefly following the ceremony, thanking those present for attending and inviting them to enjoy their time at the fair.
“The weather’s going to be good for the first part of the week, so everybody enjoy it, and let’s have fun like we did last year,” Stevenson said.
Joe Braden, West Regional Liaison for Ohio Auditor of State Keith Faber, presented Stevenson with a certificate from the State of Ohio recognizing the members of the Preble County Fair Board.
“People think it’s just the fair, but these guys work all year round to make this happen,” Braden said.
Kenneth Henning, Southwest Regional Liaison for Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose, expressed similar sentiments.
“We wanted to recognize all the work that volunteers and Fair Board members do to put this fair on,” Henning said.
Governor Mike DeWine made an announcement shortly before last year’s fair heavily limiting activities at fairs across the state, citing failure to enforce social distancing, mask mandates and other efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19 at events taking place earlier in the summer.
Games, rides, and other Senior Fair activities were prohibited under last year’s guidelines, limiting fairs to food concessions and Junior Fair events. Locally, only family members of Junior Fair exhibitors were allowed inside the fairgrounds during specific events.
The result was a significant reduction in revenue for last year’s fair, according to Stevenson.
“It’s been very tight over the last year,” Stevenson said. “We’ve tried to keep our spending to a minimum.”
While the 2020 fair saw less than half the normal number of food service and other vendors, however, Stevenson said that this year’s event is “back to full capacity.”
“It feels weird, but it’s good – it’s good to get back to normal,” Stevenson said. “All the kids are ready to enjoy the week, the animals are in place, and we’ve already started the shows.”
Stevenson was confident that this year’s fair would be a success.
“It’s going to be a good, cool week,” Stevenson said. “Hopefully everybody will be able to enjoy the fair.”
Reach Anthony Baker at 937-683-4057 or on Facebook @mproperenglish