County fair in June?

The possibility of moving the Auglaize County Fair to a week in June from the last week in July is being contemplated by county fair officials,  and they are seeking public input on the possible move before any decision is made.

Auglaize County Agricultural Society, or Fair Board, members discussed Saturday some of the advantages and disadvantages of holding the fair during a week in June instead of the last week of July.

“I brought up the idea a couple of months ago and I thought I should bring it up again and see if anybody had any thoughts and I just wanted to get the idea out in front of the public and see how it goes,” Fair Board Secretary and Fairgrounds Manager Fred Piehl said. “Beth Miller (Auglaize County Ohio State Extension 4-H adviser) sent the idea out to all the advisers and we got back comments, some pro and some con, some liked it and some didn’t.”

“Any time you make a change it is a big thing,” he said. “I know if the board sees more negatives than positives and they are not 100 percent behind it, then we won’t do it.”

If a change was approved this winter, the fair would not be changed to a week in June until at least 2015.

Moving the dates when the fair is held is not unprecedented in Auglaize County with the fair being held in September and several different weeks in August prior to the fair starting the last week of July and into the first few days of August at times.

Piehl explained he decided to bring the idea to board members’ attention because the Ohio State Fair continues to start earlier and earlier and is now starting before and ending after the Auglaize County Fair “which causes a lot of grief” in regard to scheduling.

Another reason is late July and early August typically is the hottest time of the year which puts a strain on the animals and the 4-H participants.

“The last part of July and the first part of August is the busiest time for activities — you can’t find a busier time of the year,” Piehl said. “Then there are people who will say there are these camps and these sports in June, but you have that regardless and you are not going to get away from it.

“There is just a handful of fairs in June and now there are like 12 other fairs going on in the state at the same time that week (last week of July) and then there are all the festivals around that time,” he said.

With multiple fairs going on at the same time throughout the state the last week of July, entertainment acts have been more difficult to schedule.

During Saturday’s meeting, a breeder, who has steers shown at the fair, came forward and voiced concerns over changes needed in breeding. The woman said it would force breeders to alter their schedule and breed the animals earlier.

Piehl said it would just require a change in the breeding schedule and if a change is made they intend to give breeders ample time to make the shift.

“For lambs, you would have to breed in January for them to be born in April, so you just have to change your breeding times which is the same with hogs and the same with the cattle,” Piehl said. “You stretch your breeding out and that is why we are having a two year period or waiting two years so they can adjust their breeding.”