Grounds ready for fair

With a new roof overtop the Junior Fair Building and blacktopping work done underfoot, the Auglaize County Fairgrounds is ready to host the county fair, the fairgrounds manager says.
Auglaize County Fairgrounds Manager Fred Piehl, who also serves as secretary of the Auglaize County Agricultural Society (Fair Board) reported to the Auglaize County Commissioners this week that they aim to have everything done each year in time for the annual St. Joseph’s Fourth of July Festival and this year plans worked the same as they have in the past leaving the fairgrounds virtually ready to open the gates on the first day of the fair less than a month later.
The 159th annual event this year extends from Sunday, July 31, through Saturday, Aug. 6.
Piehl said a few electrical upgrades remain to be completed but some of that will be done before the Good Sams RV Club rents out the facility next weekend.
He said there is some painting that needs done in restrooms and showers before the start of the fair.
Trees in the campground area also are being trimmed.
“It’s a never ending deal,” Piehl said of work that is required to keep the fairgrounds operating in top condition from year to year.
“Everything else is falling together quickly,” he said. “It always happens.”
He said the new roof on the Junior Fair Building provides extra insulation which will make a difference both in heating and cooling.
Piehl said the biggest changes at the fair will be moving some of the animals around to accommodate those which there will be more of this year.
Goats are to move into barns where dairy have been in the past and chickens into areas goats and sheep formerly occupied.
Piehl said while there has been a large increase in the number of turkeys taken as projects at the fair, he is not anticipating a resurgence of dairy projects.
Work either must be done inbetween rentals of the grounds for a variety of reasons or while groups are using different buildings and areas for what has become a wide range of activities and events.
“Most of the time in the summer time, we have two to three events happening at a time,” Piehl said. “We’re staying busy from wedding receptions and tractor pulls to horse shows and ATV drag racing.”
After the fair, more than 20 trees from the fairgrounds are slated for removal.
Many of the larger trees on the county property are dying, having succumbed to emerald ash borer.
“These were good solid trees that we’re going to have to take down,” Piehl said.
He said several of the trees had grown quite large and were used for shaded areas, including overhangs for benches.
Trees removed from the north side of Fairview Street will not be replaced due to drainage issues.
The others Piehl said he is planning to replace in intervals of six or so a year.
“We’ve planted close to 100 trees over the last 10 years,” Piehl said. “This will be a little bit of a setback again.”