The Ottawa County Agricultural Society (OCAS) voted during the April board meeting to move forward with the Ottawa County Fair at the Oak Harbor Fairgrounds that will run from July 19-25. With better guidance from the state and a full year of people working under mask and social distancing rules, the board felt it was possible to return to a full fair this summer.
“This was a tough decision, with positives and negatives on both sides of the vote. Outside of public safety, the most important item to consider was the financial impact of the pandemic and the restrictions on the fair,” said OCAS Board President Sherri Kleinhans. “We are confident we can put on most fair events while following the state’s health orders.
“With sponsorship and public support, entertainment events can be financially viable. Many of our events are outdoors and we feel the community is looking for activities they can do as families and to be supportive to the community.”
Mike Libben of the Ottawa County Fair Board said that everyone is delighted to again have what he called “a full fair.”
“For $5, fairgoers will be able to enjoy the events, walk around outside and get some good food,” said Libben. The schedule of events is still being finalized, but the fair will be returning to a week-long running of junior fair events, camping, harness racing, and the fan favorites of the demolition derby and tractor pulls sanctioned by the Ohio State Tractor Pullers Association.
The fair will be following state health orders for masks and social distancing.
“Ohio officials have changed the rules a little bit, making it possible for grandstand and entertainment events to happen,” said Libben. “There will still be restrictions, but now people can attend in groups of 10 by staying six feet apart. That will allow the increased capacity we need to make entertainment doable this year.”
Returning to a more normal fair schedule brings the fair back from a modified, primarily Junior Fair, which constituted the county fair schedule in 2020. Last year, the decision was made to focus efforts on one day livestock judging’s for each species, equestrian shows, harness racing, and limited vendor opportunities.