WILMINGTON — Due to COVID-19, Clinton County had one of the few full fairs this summer in Ohio, and attendance was better than last year even with the virus concerns.
Clinton County Agricultural Society President Scot Gerber met with county commissioners Monday, and also spoke with the News Journal afterward.
The Clinton County Fair was held July 11 through 18, and on July 28 Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine limited all county fairs to Junior Fair competitions — livestock and other 4-H or FFA project competitions.
Concerning the attendance, Gerber said he thinks only one day of the fair this year had a lower attendance than the same day of the week last year.
Overall, attendance for the week was probably in the range of 23,000 to 25,000, he told commissioners, with more than 16,000 paid gate admissions.
There were six people with COVID-19 who reported attending the fair, Clinton County Health Commissioner Pam Bauer told the News Journal. None of them were hospitalized, she reported.
The nurses at the Clinton County Health Department said they weren’t able to connect anyone as having acquired COVID at the fair. The nurses were able to document that all six individuals reported mild symptoms while they attended the fair.
Gerber said several grandstand events drew a lot of people, listing tractor pulls, the demolition derby, and drag racing. Those are all Senior Fair attractions that would not have been permitted starting July 31.
There were more out-of-state participants than normal in the NTPA Regional National Truck and Tractor Pull on Saturday, July 18 at the fair, Gerber said, presumably because a number of other pulls around the country had been called off.
In terms of the number of fair exhibitors, some project areas were down, while overall exhibitor participation was down slightly, Gerber said.
The livestock sales were down “a little bit,” he said, adding that the number of participants was likewise down.
In his meeting with commissioners, the Agricultural Society president said a private company came after-hours every night to perform a fine-mist fog sanitizing of high-touch surfaces such as grandstand seating, chairs, and bleachers.
At the end of his News Journal interview, Gerber said he and the Fair Board and other volunteers “were just trying to support and provide an outlet for the people of the community and other people to come and enjoy what they’ve always done. I think we did that.”
During the meeting, Clinton County Commissioners President Kerry R. Steed said he appreciates the fact that Gerber and the Fair Board were able to put on a fair this year.
Noting that there was a lot of controversy statewide regarding the holding of fairs this year, Steed added he is “glad that Clinton County took a lead and went ahead and put one on for our community.”
In other fairground news, Gerber reported that Jeep Jam has decided to permanently relocate its annual summer event from the fairgrounds to a Clarksville-area farm, meaning a loss of income to the Clinton County Agricultural Society (Fair Board).
Jeep Jam moved to the Clinton County Fairgrounds in 2018, after being located at a Chester Township site in Clinton County.
The Ag Society, plus the Clinton County Convention & Visitors Bureau and other donors are joining together to donate an off-road vehicle to the Clinton County Sheriff’s Office. Presently, the sheriff’s office does not have one, said Gerber, and the Ag Society wants to show its appreciation to the sheriff’s department for annually covering the fair at no cost to the Ag Society.
A lot of county fairs have to pay for security services, Gerber said.
Reach Gary Huffenberger at 937-556-5768.