Dog Committee presents $25,000 check


By Ryan Berry

GREENVILLE — The Darke County Junior Fair Dog Committee presented a $25,000 check to the Darke County Agricultural Society on Wednesday, June 5. The funds will be used to help build the new Community Education Center and Hills Dog Show Arena at the fairgrounds. As implied by the name, the building will be the new home for the dog department during the fair.

According to Kathleen Ditmer, chairwoman of the dog committee, Darke County’s 4-H clubs have been raising funds for a new barn for over 10 years. “Soon after we began raising funds, there was a fire in the Cow Palace and the fair board was like, we’ve got to deal with cow stuff,” she said. The committee understood and revamped and continued the fundraising process. “And then the hog barn caught fire,” she said. “You can’t fault the fair board. They had to take care of the hog barn.”

“This group continued to raise funds and to work and work. Dragons games, selling dog bones, we did a spaghetti dinner, sold brick pavers. We did anything we could to hustle a buck out of,” Ditmer said. The group ran concessions at Dayton Dragons baseball games, sold chicken dinners and sought donations.

The dog department was forced out of its longtime location between the Goat Barn and Beef and Dairy Pavilion when their building was condemned. They have since been showing in tents near Gate 5 and near the midway by Gate 1. Ditmer said the junior fair participants have had to show in muddy conditions and sometimes flooded show arenas.

The dog shows will now be held under roof and away from the elements. The dog department has lost some of its numbers in recent years and Ditmer believes much of that is due to the department not having a permanent home. With the new building, she believes they will be able to grow their numbers while also growing what they will be able to offer their junior fair participants. She is hoping they will eventually be able to add agility to the list of shows they offer.

The Dog Committee would like to thank the Darke County Agricultural Society for their commitment to progress and for creating a space that celebrates their cherished four-legged companions. They feel honored to be a part of this endeavor and look forward to seeing the positive impact it will have on the community.

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

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