GREENVILLE — The Darke County Fair Board held its second meeting of the summer season Wednesday night.
Board member Thomas Shaw suggested setting up a rest tent inside Gate 2, near the gazebo, for use by veterans during the fair. Shaw said the tent could be used to host a dinner for the veterans during Fair Week as well.
“For all that they do for us, I think we need to do something for them,” Shaw said of the county’s veterans.
The tent itself had already been donated, according to Shaw, while the Darke County Cattlemen’s Association had volunteered to prepare food for the event. Shaw’s motion to set up the tent and establish a $500 budget for food was approved unanimously by the board.
Rules regarding the use of all-terrain vehicles on the county fairgrounds were discussed at the fair board’s June 5 meeting, with vendors citing potential discrepancies. Under current rules, the vehicles can be used by vendors after 11:30 p.m. in order to transport stock.
The issue was raised again during Wednesday’s session, with a motion by Shaw to limit ATV use to fair-owned vehicles and emergency personnel being defeated by a wide margin. A few independent contractors working for the fair said the new rule would have made it very difficult for them to perform their duties in a timely fashion.
“I can’t see us tying the hands of people who are employed by us,” board member Cindy Riffle said. “We should let them use whatever equipment they need in order to do their jobs.”
Board member Jim Zumbrink agreed, citing the increased cost of providing additional golf carts for contractors who would no longer be able to use their own vehicles.
“Why do we want to throw away $1,000 on golf carts when these people are already furnishing their own equipment?” Zumbrink said.
Concern about the use of larger vehicles on fair property stems from a series of incidents during the 2017 Darke County Fair in which patrons were injured after being struck by, or while attempting to board, the fair’s shuttles. It was ultimately decided that contractors would be allowed to use all-terrain vehicles to carry out their duties on a case-by-case basis, as specified in each organization’s contract. Vendors, however, will be restricted to using golf carts during hours when the fairgrounds are open.
Finally, Shaw presented bids by Greenville-based companies Ohio Signs, LLC and Wintrow Signs and Designs to replace the fair’s illuminated sign on Sweitzer Street. Shaw said he received complaints from fairgoers about the sign freezing and refusing to operate frequently. The bids ranged from $15,000-$32,000. The board elected to table discussion on a new sign until after the 2018 fair.