EATON — The 167th edition of the Famous Preble County Fair gets under way Saturday, July 29, with food, fun and competition of all sorts.
Newly hired fair manager Jim Shute welcomes visitors to the grounds to see what it has to offer, in addition to seeing the upgrades to the buildings and grounds.
He said several groups this year volunteered time to help with upkeep of the buildings, including painting and other odds-and-ends projects.
“They’ve done a great job,” Shute said of the 4-H groups. “There have been a lot of things taken care of.”
New this year is the addition of a rabbit barn, a project led by the rabbit committee.
“It’s a state of the art building for a fairgrounds,” Shute said. “It’s really nice.”
Running through Saturday, Aug. 5, the fair gives 4-H and other Junior Fair participants a chance to compete with projects they have worked hard preparing all year, and gives families from around the area a traditional week of fun and entertainment.
From livestock shows to demolition derbies, tractor pulls to rides and games on the midway, visitors are sure to find an event to their liking — including a complete rodeo for the second straight year on Tuesday, Aug. 1 at 6 p.m.
Veterans’ Day kicks off the fair once again, on Saturday, with the annual ceremony beginning at 11:30 a.m. prior to the parade’s arrival in front of the newly refurbished grandstands around noon. The parade will line up at Eagles Point (former Eaton Middle School) on Cherry Street, beginning at 10 a.m. and will leave from there at 11:30 a.m.
The annual Pie and Cake Auction will begin at 7 p.m. in the Toney Building.
Saturday evening will close with a demolition derby slated for an 8 p.m. start time. Other events on tap for the first half of the week include: Sunday, July 30 and Monday, July 31 — Ohio Colts Stakes racing, 4 p.m.; Monday, July 31 — Preble County Idol semi-finals, 8 p.m. in the Toney Building; and the NTPA regional truck and tractor pull will be Wednesday, Aug. 2, at 7 p.m.
Veterans and one guest will be admitted free on Saturday, July 29, for Veterans’ Day; and Wednesday, Aug. 2, is Senior Citizens’ Day, with free admission for those 65 and older.
The church tent will now be run by Jesse’s Diner, which will be serving breakfast, lunch and dinner. There will also be a wide variety of foods available, including the regulars — Bowman’s, Chuck Wagon and Kemo’s.
Junior Fair organizers are expecting approximately 1,500 animals, 50 food projects, 30 clothing projects, and more than 100 miscellaneous projects to be on display throughout the eight day exhibition. Animal species on exhibit will include poultry, dairy cattle, goats, beef, rabbits, sheep, swine, llamas, alpacas and horses. Members of 4-H and FFA learn to properly care for their animals and/or complete their projects by working with their 4-H advisors, an Agricultural Education teacher, parents, and/or other members.
The projects on exhibit will culminate a year of work for each youth organizations’ participants. The 4-H projects to be displayed include the following: large and small animals, clothing, foods, and special interest ranging from archery, electricity, collectibles, and woodworking, to rockets, first aid, creative arts, and natural resources. The FFA members will also display large and small animals as well as shop and crop projects. These projects include toolboxes, cabinets, boot scrapers, flowers, vegetables, field crops, and more.
Fairgoers will be able to watch Preble County youth participate in a clothing style review, numerous livestock shows, the Cook-Off and Mystery Mixer, the Food Show, Barn Games, and much more.
This year, the courtesy carts will be driven by the county’s elected officials all week, from noon-8 p.m. each day.
“I think (people) should come visit the fairgrounds, see the improvements. Check out everything and hopefully support the fair so we can have better fairs in the future,” Shute said.
Reach Eddie Mowen Jr. at 937-683-4056 or on Twitter @emowen_RH.