BY D’ARCY PATRICK EGAN
Crews have been bustling in Oak Harbor for weeks to get the Ottawa County Fairgrounds ready for the 57th edition of the summertime extravaganza. This time around, fair officials are optimistic about break-out crowds on Monday, July 19 to Sunday, July 25.
“Last year was difficult for the Ottawa County Fair because of the constantly changing Covid-19 restrictions,” admitted Mike Libben of the fair board. “So many of our attractions and events had to be put on hold, especially the ones that made the fair a financial success.
“We were lucky that the Junior Fair events could be maintained. Those projects and livestock displayed by the kids from 4-H and the Future Farmers of America are the life blood of the Ottawa County Fair for Western Ottawa County’s agricultural society.
The glitz and glamour of the entertainment, and the rows of food vendors, are attractions that lure the week-long crowds and provide the fair its financial support.
From all signs, the crowds are ready to return.
“Folks are tired of not being able to do things during the pandemic,” said Libben. “With vaccination rates up and infections down, and the restrictions over, people now have the opportunity to get back to normal, to enjoy the home town entertainment, get out and see neighbors and friends, enjoy some great fair food.”
When the fair could present popular events last year, such as the Demolition Derby, the crowds set records.
The County Fair Grandstand will return to a full slate of entertainment, starting Monday and Tuesday, July 19-20 with harness racing, including free seating and gambling starting at 5 p.m.
Autocross car racing against the clock will take over on Wednesday, July 21 at 7 pm. The Broken Horn Rodeo will make its debut on Thursday, July 22 at 7 p.m. The Twisted Metal Demolition Derby is at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, July 23. The OSTPA Tractor Pull is on Saturday, July 24 at 7:30 p.m.
“We’ll also welcome the very impressive World Draft Horse Show on Sunday (July 25) morning at 11 a.m.,” said Libben, whose Ottawa County Soil and Water District will also host Sunday fishing derbies for kids under five and 6 to 12 years old at 9:30 a.m. and 10:30 a.m.