GREENVILLE — Tuesday’s Great Darke County Fair Appreciation Banquet brought in about 200 people.
They filtered into the Youth Building on the fairgrounds, that was a short time ago filled with fair activities. Guests enjoyed a buffet catered by Cornerstone Catering, entertainment by Noah Back of West Alexandria and door prizes. In addition, they were subject to a great amount of praise and thankfulness from fairboard Directors: President Dean Neff, Vice President Doug Martin, Treasurer Jerry Marker, Secretary/Manager Brian Rismiller, Russ Bennett, Richard Delk, Ed Erisman, Dave Niley, Cindy Riffle (not present), James Zumbrink and newly elected 2018 member Thomas Shaw. Each board member thanked their wives and the volunteers within their departments.
“We appreciate all that you do,” fairboard President Neff said. “It’s just not me, it’s all of us that makes this fair go. I want to thank Brian [Rismiller] for taking over as Fair Manager. I think it went pretty smooth this year with everything we had accomplished.
“We are here because of all of you and we appreciate everything you guys do,” Rismiller said. “When Daryl [Riffle, former Fair Secretary] resigned, they said I had some big shoes to fill, and they have been. The first person I really want to thank is Fair Office Manager Judy Pence. The reason I thank her more than anyone else, is because she helped me through Daryl and other staff resigning. Judy got stuck with everything, had to guide me a lot and keep reminding me of when to do things. It has been a task, and I am sure she has had a lot of patience.”
In addition, Rismiller thanked other fair employees, including office staff, caretakers and volunteers. He recognized the Junior Fair royalty in attendance: King Wyatt King, First Runner-Up Alex Weiss and Second Runner-Up for Queen Faith Wilker.
Fair Treasurer Jerry Marker reported the fair’s current balance as $550,000 which will go up and down quickly, he said. Some of the spending went towards the following improvements: Bud’s Electric building – about $12,000, paving – about $94,000; new grandstand roof and horse stalls – around $60,000; tree removal – about $15,000; and a donation of about $20,000 for the wash rack and tie-out gate project. In addition, 14 new campsites were added, allowing room for more vendors and venues. Marker said the Junior Fair sales continue to grow. There were 481 lots, with a total sale of around $551,000. This total is up 20 lots and around $20,000 from last year, he said.
According to Fairboard Director James Zumbrink, the gate receipts and pre-sale tickets brought in $504,359, with 188,877 people attending, compared to 186,319 people reported in 2016. In 2016, gate receipts totaled $500,977. The record year for gate receipts, he reported, was 2015, with $510,314. The record year for attendance was 2013, with about 214,446 people, he said.
“From the record year, we are down about 25,000 people in attendance,” Zumbrink said. “But the difference in money is because we raised the gates.”
A presentation of a plaque with this year’s cover of the Official Fair Magazine was made to the Darke County Agricultural Society by The Daily Advocate Editor Christina Chalmers and Advertising Director Christie Randall.
“We appreciate being invited tonight, and we wanted to share appreciation for our partnership this year,” Chalmers said. “The team at The Daily Advocate would like to thank all members of the Fairboard for its support of the 2017 Official Fair Magazine. This year’s special 10th Anniversary edition will be marked as our most successful fair magazine to date. Participation from local advertisers and the expanded distribution of the magazine surpassed all other, since 2007, when we published our first edition. This success allowed us to give back by way of donations to three local community organizations: Kiwanis of Greenville, Arcanum Wayne Trail Historical Society and the Arcanum Lions Club. We look forward to our continued partnership with the fairboard and we wish the board continued success.
“I would like to thank them for everything they do for us,” said fairboard President Neff.
Fair Manager Rismiller once again thanked everyone in attendance for their involvement with the fair.
“If you guys didn’t have the passion for what this fair is all about, we wouldn’t be as successful as we are,” he said. “A lot of fairs are around us, and we attend some of those. As board of directors, we have the opportunity to visit different fairs to see how they run. We definitely appreciate ours, and we know without you people out there, we wouldn’t have near the fair we have. On behalf of the board, we want to thank all of you for what you do.”