Darke County Fair receives share of $10 million


COLUMBUS — Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, Lt. Governor Jon Husted, Ohio Department of Development Director Lydia Mihalik, and Ohio Department of Agriculture Director Brian Baldridge recently announced $10 million in grants to support Ohio fairgrounds and enhance experiences for fairgoers.

The funding was awarded as part of Ohio’s County and Independent Fair Grant Program, which was established to support county and independent agricultural societies with improvements including upgrades to grounds, electrical and sanitation systems, machinery and equipment, and ADA accommodations.

“Investing in Ohio’s county and independent fairs means investing in some of Ohio’s most beloved traditions,” said Governor DeWine. “These improvements will ensure that our fairgrounds remain safe and accessible for everyone.”

“Innovation is prevalent across all of agriculture, and we need to make sure this is reflected in our county and independent fairs,” said Lt. Governor Husted. “We are investing in what is the heart of many of our rural communities and making vital improvements that will improve the fair experience all across Ohio.”

The Darke County Agricultural Society received $106,831.54.

Grants will support a variety of projects, including new grandstands, repairing or replacing dilapidated buildings, new or improved restroom facilities, parking and camping sites, and ADA accessibility improvements like ramp additions and improved pathways. Several projects include electrical upgrades, lighting improvements, and additional directional and traffic signage.

All 94 county and independent fairs applied and received funding. Funding for the program was made possible with support from the 135th Ohio General Assembly in House Bill 33, which specifies funds should be distributed evenly among all eligible grant applicants. All applicants were awarded up to $106,831.54, with two fairs requesting a lower amount. The program is administered by the Ohio Department of Development.

“Ohio’s county and independent fairs are a longstanding pastime and are deeply embedded in the heart of our communities,” said Lydia Mihalik, director of the Ohio Department of Development. “By funding necessary improvements, we’re ensuring fairgrounds are safe, accessible, and enjoyable for all, allowing families to keep making memories for generations to come.”

“Our local fairs are truly a place of agricultural tradition and celebration,” said Brian Baldridge, director of the Ohio Department of Agriculture. “People from communities everywhere come to visit and learn about agriculture because of the quality of programming at our fairs. These dollars will continue to uplift and improve each and every fairground across the state.”

Ohio is home to 94 county and independent fairs across the state. The fair season officially kicked off June 8 with the Paulding County Fair and will wrap up Oct. 12 with the Fairfield County Fair. A complete list of Ohio’s fairs is available on the Department of Agriculture’s website.

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