DARKE COUNTY — Despite this year’s ban on live birds at county fairs, poultry-related work continues at the Darke County Fairgrounds.
Thanks to a grant from Keep Ohio Beautiful and the Sherwin Williams Company, the fair’s Poultry Barn is getting a makeover.
The Darke County Fair was one of nine Ohio entities awarded a grant as part of the second annual “National Painting Week,” sponsored by Sherwin Williams.
Darke County Solid Waste District Director Krista Fourman and Darke County Fair Board President and Poultry Superintendent Brian Rismiller spearheaded the grant application effort.
“Even though no birds will be in the barn this year, we still wanted the building to look nice,” said Fourman. “What makes this fair so ‘great’ are the exhibitors and volunteers who give their time to make projects such as painting the Poultry Barn happen.”
Rismiller added, “Getting this grant to help the county and the fairgrounds, to keep the community beautiful, is a positive thing. We’re really proud to get it.”
Michael Mennett, executive director of Keep Ohio Beautiful, a non-profit organization which promotes community beautification efforts, said, “Along with the sponsorship of the Ohio-based Sherwin Williams company, we were excited to work with Krista and the Darke County Fair to help get the Poultry Barn painted and ready for the fair.”
The Poultry Barn, 96 feet long and 128 feet wide, is a partially-open building, with the surrounding exterior walls 3-feet high. It was originally built in 1970 and was the Sheep Barn until transitioning to poultry exhibits in the 1980s. The barn was last painted approximately 10 years ago, but is again in need of a fresh coat inside and out.
The Keep Ohio Beautiful/Sherwin Williams award provides 40 gallons of white exterior paint as well as paint brushes and rollers. Another 35 gallons of paint were purchased by the fair to complete the job of painting both exterior and interior surfaces.
Other businesses which donated materials and labor to the project were Ansonia Lumber Company, which donated white metal siding to cover the barn’s 3-foot-high exterior walls, and Randy Fourman Construction, which donated the use of tools, scaffolding and a pressure washer, in addition to many hours of free labor and bending the metal barn siding.
Dustin Brenner, manager of the Sherwin Williams shop in Greenville, supplied the paint and supplies for the project.
“I think it’s great Sherwin Williams does something like this,” he said.
Though the grant called for a 40-percent discount on additional paint purchased, Brenner sought to enlarge the discount.
“My district manager and I talked, and instead of 40 percent off paint, we decided to do 50 percent,” he said. “Because it’s a local project, we wanted to offer as much support as we could.”
At the conclusion of the project, the fair may submit a final report on its completed work, including before-and-after photos, and thereby becomes eligible to possibly receive an additional $200 gift card for its community improvement efforts.
Initial paint work began August 1, but volunteers are still needed this Saturday starting at 9 a.m.
“With volunteer help, we hope to complete, or come close to, completing the project on Saturday morning,” said Fourman.
As well, donations can be dropped off at the fairgrounds, 800 Sweitzer Street, or by contacting the Darke County Fair office at 937-548-5044.
“We can always use monetary donations for the paint purchased,” Fourman added.