WILMINGTON — Attendance the first four days of the fair was up about 20 percent, due in no small part to Ride Free Monday.
Clinton County Fair Board President Scot Gerber reported to the county commissioners Wednesday on how the fair is going. With good weather and good gate numbers, his evaluation was upbeat.
“I’m tickled to death,” he said.
The attendance on Ride Free Monday was almost double the Monday average for past fairs, said Gerber.
The Monday offer included an entire day of free rides in the $7 daily admission paid at the gate — thus waiving the $9 for the ride arm-band that otherwise is required daily to go on the amusement rides at the fairgrounds.
An early challenge in fair week was a traffic bottleneck Saturday evening at the new main entrance, said the Fair Board president. He complimented his fellow Fair Board members for “jumping in” and helping alleviate the problem.
Afterward, board members re-grouped and came up with plans if vehicles start getting backed up on Nelson Avenue again, Gerber said.
Another challenge also pertains to the entrance, which presently has a gravel surface. Because the weather has been dry, the entrance has to be kept watered, he said.
“That limestone is putting out a lot of dust now,” Gerber said, adding that hopefully the driveway will be chipped and sealed before next year’s fair.
Gerber and Clinton County Commissioner President Mike Curry said feedback is positive about the golf cart shuttle service for fair-goers. The Fair Board is the sponsor, and members of the Port William and Wilmington Lions Clubs are the drivers.
There were 58 teams of ropers at the inaugural team roping contest Tuesday evening at the horse arena, reported Gerber.
In another piece of news related to the Clinton County Fairgrounds, Ohio Department of Agriculture Director David Daniels presented a $50,000 grant Wednesday to the Fair Board to build a new horse barn on the fairgrounds.
To construct the new barn, the grant will be used in conjunction with dollars the county will receive this year in the state’s Capital Improvement Budget.
This barn project also benefits from good community support, said Gerber, saying there are people intending to help reduce the costs to demolish, and dispose of, an existing horse barn.
Commissioners on Wednesday made re-appointments as well as new appointments to the local Elderly Services Board. The action means there are eight board members, with a ninth seat expected to get filled, too.
Karen Buckley and Tim Prestridge were appointed new board members.
Re-appointed to the board were Carol Weber, Timothy Hawk, Larry Roddy, Gene Breckel, Kathi Spirk and Rev. Tom Stephenson.
The board makes recommendations or suggestions to commissioners about meeting the needs that are within the local senior population.
Reach Gary Huffenberger at 937-556-5768 or on Twitter @GHuffenberger.