You don’t need me to tell you that The Great Darke County Fair starts on Friday, Aug. 17; you and most of Darke County have been anticipating our community’s premiere event since – well, probably since last year’s Fair closed. Everybody will be there; family get-togethers and class reunions are scheduled around Fair week, because those who have moved away from the area don’t want to miss the Fair and plan to return during the third week of August. Many local businesses close down or change their usual hours of operation because of the Fair. Signs advising motorists to consider an alternate route because of Fair traffic appear on roads leading to Greenville. No doubt about it, The Darke County Fair, begun in 1853, continues to be a really big deal for our community.
And once again this year, Darke County Center for the Arts is going to the Fair. People attend the Fair for many reasons: the rides, the animal shows, the food, the games, the Fine Arts exhibit, the tractor pull, the show at the Grandstand, the 4-H exhibits, the flower show, the entertainment at the Gazebo – I could go on and on, but you get the idea. DCCA attends the Fair because the arts organization wants to reach out to as many people as possible to extol their upcoming season of presentations and to heighten awareness of its existence. Even though DCCA is celebrating its 40th anniversary this season, once again many fair-goers will be surprised to learn about its presentations and services; DCCA’s booth in the Coliseum provides amazing opportunity for people to learn about the organization, and also for DCCA staff and officials to learn about their potential audience.
When you stop by the Fair booth, you will, of course, see posters and brochures advertising DCCA’s Artists Series, Family Theatre Series, and Coffeehouse Series shows, and you can buy tickets for many events including this year’s holiday show starring The Texas Tenors. (However, if you really want those tickets to see the Tenors at Henry St. Clair Memorial Hall on Dec. 9, you’d better shop early, as very few remain.) You can also pick up a dollar-off coupon for DCCA’s popular Halloween season downtown Ghostwalk, and youngsters will be given a festive bookmark noting the dates and titles for the upcoming Family Theatre presentations, most of which are based on classic children’s books.
But DCCA also wants to know what you think and learn what you would like to see; so DCCA officials have devised a brief survey for that very purpose. Granted, DCCA may never bring in your choices for presentation in our community, but there’s usually a good reason for that. For example, results of the very first Fair survey established that Reba McEntire would be a huge draw, but also indicated that survey participants wanted to pay around $10 for a ticket to that event. St. Clair Memorial Hall holds around 600 seats; needless to say, Reba isn’t coming to Greenville for $6,000, and DCCA’s local resources could obviously not be sufficiently tapped to make up the monetary deficit.
But many achievable suggestions and preferences offered by survey participants have been heeded and acted upon. And as additional incentive for participation in the poll, each day of the Fair an entrant will be chosen to win two tickets to a DCCA presentation, with tickets for The Texas Tenors being the grand prize awarded at the close of the Fair. Stop by DCCA’s booth, talk to DCCA representatives about what you’d like to see and what you’ve enjoyed in the past, and maybe win valuable tickets to a show. See you at the Fair!