Fair attendance up, but junior fair issues need resolved


By Ryan Berry


GREENVILLE – The Darke County Fair Board met in regular session for their first meeting after the 2022 Great Darke County Fair. Much of the discussion centered around the previous fair and preparation for the 2023 fair.

Fair director Jim Zumbrink shared the gate receipts for this year’s fair. With good weather for the second half, the fair saw an increase in visitors during the closing weekend. In total, gate receipts for 2022 were $475,955. This was up nearly $55,000 over 2021, but down approximately $6,000 compared to 2019. There was only a junior fair in 2020 due to COVID.

Director and board treasurer Thomas Shaw shared that most of the big events in front of the Grandstand either broke even or had a profit, including both concerts. The motorcycle races and demolition derby also filled the Grandstand with spectators.

Beth Martin, junior fair director, asked the board to make a decision on an issue she found following the fair. “I went through some ring books and found some entries that were made in one department for one particular club that added entries after the fact that entries had been closed,” Martin said. In a separate issue, she found another department had a committee member tell a junior fair member they had to add a person to showmanship that was not signed up for showmanship. The late entry went on to win the contest for their age group. “When you’re figuring out Outstanding Exhibitor points, that plays into it,” she added. “What would you like to do with those people?” She pointed out that this was allowed by advisors and a person seated on a committee.

The board remained silent until Shaw spoke up and said, “You all know where I stand on this.” He later said they should not be paid their premium money.

Shaw asked how they were entered if everything is done digitally. “Did they just write it?” he asked. Martin acknowledged that was how it was done.

After several minutes of the board looking at each other or a couple of members looking at the paperwork Martin provided, Darke County Agricultural Society President Doug Martin broke the silence and said, “We’ve got a lot to get to tonight. We’ll come back to it.” Shaw asked, “Before you do the treasurer’s report, what is the outcome of that going to be?” Doug Martin said they would continue with the business meeting and come back to it. However, the issue was not brought revived in open session for the remainder of the meeting was not listed as a reason for an executive session either time the board went behind closed doors.

During the recognition of guests, Kathleen Ditmer, representing the dog barn, questioned the board in regard to when a new building will be built. The dog committee had raised funds over the past several years to ensure a new building would be built. According to Zumbrink, the board is moving forward with the project, but is not ready to make an official announcement on when and where the barn will be built. He held up two contractor bids and noted they are waiting on a third.

Krista Fourman praised the board for their support in a recycling effort. “This year was a little shy of what it was in 2019 with 6.35 tons,” she said. “We are still recycling well over 12,000 pounds each year,” she added. Through those efforts, they are able to keep cardboard and plastic bottles out of the board’s trash dumpsters.

The board is also preparing for next year’s fair. They gave Shaw and his committee approval to begin talks with Variety Attractions to find next year’s artist(s). A budget has been set that will allow the fair to have one or two shows, depending on what they can do with the funds that have been set aside.

The fair board will meet with the speed department in a special meeting on Wednesday to discuss next year’s horse racing program.

The next regular meeting of the Darke County Agricultural Society will be Oct. 5, 7:30 p.m., in the Secretary’s Office.

To contact Daily Advocate Editor Ryan Berry, email [email protected].

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