BY D’ARCY PATRICK EGAN
The Ottawa County Fairgrounds is nestled along the beautiful Portage River in Oak Harbor. On Monday, July 17 through Sunday, July 23, county families, friends, neighbors and folks from all around the region will gather to celebrate the area’s farming heritage, admire the farm animals children have raised, and have plenty of good, old-fashioned fun.
And everyone’s invited!
The county fair has easy to afford adventures for kids and adults, and is jam-packed with interesting things to see and do. The barns and buildings will include competitions for the county’s best apple pies, well-muscled steers and cuddly lambs, as well as great bands and an array of exhibits.
Many can’t wait to sample this year’s fair food, or a delicious ice cream cone on a sweltering summer day. Known for its beautiful fairgrounds, horse racing track and ample free parking, a stroll around the fairgrounds is always a treat.
Admission is just $6 for fairgoers who are 9 and older, and for the second year there is a big bonus. Admission allows boys and girls to enjoy free carnival rides along the Holcomb Enterprises Midway.
“We first tried offering the free rides for paid admissions last year, and it went over just great,” said fair official Mike Libben. “Grandstands seats are also free for the harness racing on Monday and Tuesday at 5 p.m., and betting on the trotters and pacers is encouraged.”
The unique county fair race track is on the banks of the Portage River, and tall trees sometimes leave bettors guessing if their favorite horse is still in the lead on the backstretch. Ten races per day keep fans cheering, and the Ohio Harness Horsemen’s Association races always debut a lot of young four-legged talent on Ohio’s County Fair Circuit.
The most popular grandstand shows are the Autocross timed race car competiton on Wednesday; Flying Star Rodeo on Thursday; Twisted Metal Demolition Derby on Friday; and OSTPA Tractor Pull on Saturday, all starting at 7 p.m. Autocross seats are free, thanks to Avery Dennison, with the rest offering $10 grandstand seats and some reserved seats. LaFarge of Marblehead is hosting the free Ottawa County Draft Horse Show in front of the grandstand on Sunday at 11 a.m.
Wednesday is Senior Day at the fair, with free admission for those 65 and older. On Saturday, veterans are not only free, but can also get tickets for a sandwich and cold drink from Boy Scout Troop #316 by stopping at the Ottawa County Veterans Service Office in Oak Harbor.
For a complete listing of daily events, visit ottawacountyfair.org. Don’t miss Monday’s Opening Ceremony at noon, followed by the Ottawa County Fair Grande Parade at 6:30 p.m., and the crowning of the Junior Fair King and Queen at 8 p.m.
Fair sponsors are: Genoa Bank, Ottawa County Farm Bureau, Promedica Bay Park Hospital, AgCredit, Croghan Colonial Bank, LaFarge North America Marblehead Quarry, Howard Hanna Real Estate Services, Fremont Federal Credit Union, Team Kuras, Holcomb Enterprises, Rothart Farms, Golden Harvest, Avery Dennison, Kopek Insurance, Skyworks and NWO Propane.