An open letter to our community

Dear friends,

The sun has set on the 2020 Hardin County Fair. In a year unlike any other, one thing remains true no matter the year. Our community has supported us every step of the way. We are thankful. We are thankful for our exhibitors for wanting to exhibit their animals in a time where not having a fair was a very real possibility. Thank you to those exhibitors parents who accepted a risk greater than normal. We do this for the kids. Without exhibitors and their supporters, we wouldn’t have a reason to have a fair at all any year, including this one. We want to thank all of our elected leaders and county agencies. From our county Sheriff’s Office, Fire and EMS districts who make sure we are safe every year, to the Kenton-Hardin Health Department who provided key individuals that helped us put on a fair in the middle of a global pandemic. We need to thank all of the volunteers that support our committees, help with shows, volunteer with 4-H and make our fair possible year after year. We couldn’t do it without you. Our junior fair board has stepped up in a huge way to help us get the fair ready and then to execute it. Thank you, junior fair board members and advisors. Lastly, we want to thank our community that couldn’t be with us this year. It was painful to have to tell our friends in the community that we wouldn’t get to see them this year. We’re sure that it was equally painful to hear. Through all of that, through uncertainty, through changing guidelines and a collective 80 pages across two different health and safety plans, you stuck with us and supported us. We are thankful. 

We set out with two missions. Provide the youth in our community the opportunity to exhibit their projects and give our community something to rally behind together in a season of distance and isolation. Our team spent approximately 3,840 collective hours in meetings and even more on phone calls and sending emails planning to do just that, and we hope you feel that we’ve done the best job we can – we put forth our best effort. We know that this fair wasn’t ideal. It isn’t what anyone wanted – certainly not us. However, the exhibitors, their supporters, junior fair board and the community members took the turmoil and animosity in stride.

We have been on several statewide calls this year to hear what other county and independent fairs have done. Some couldn’t afford the financial strain and made the tragic choice to cancel. Some decided to ignore the rules. We feel that we put on the best fair we could while following all of the guidelines designed to keep everyone safe. That said, we are anxiously awaiting a new day when we can gather together for our county fair once again. We’ll see you all again very soon.

With thanks, gratitude, and sincerity,

The Hardin County Fair Board & Staff

Corey Ledley, President

Brad Murphy, Vice President

Justin Beale

Dan Beale

Dale Cockerell

Jake McFadden

Rob Wilson

Charlie McCullough

Mark Garmon

Craig Stump

Austin Eibling

Kelly Buchenroth

Paul Ralston

Andrew Scharf

Christa Rarey

Craig Decker

Steve Harpster

Jason Fulton

Jack McBride

Jeff Morris

Judi Cronley, Secretary/Treasurer

Pete Fout, Caretaker

Kolt Buchenroth, Marketing & Communication Director

Guidance on exhibitors under quarantine

An emergency meeting of the Hardin County Agricultural Society was held on September 5, 2020.

Board President Corey Ledley called the meeting to order at 9:30 am.  The Board discussed the need to develop and refine rules regarding confirmed reports of any individuals, exhibitors or otherwise, who have been issued a quarantine order from the Kenton-Hardin Health Department (KHHD.)

The Board discussed possible options to consider when an exhibitor notifies the Fair Board of an exhibiting individual or their household who have been issued a quarantine order from the KHHD.  Based on numerous opinions and options, the Board determined the following requirements:

  • Any individual or household, whether exhibitor or otherwise, who have been issued a quarantine order related to a positive COVID-19 test, from KHHD or any other authorized health authority, are not permitted to attend the 2020 Hardin County Fair.  This includes any quarantine order issued as a direct result of a positive COVID-19 test to an individual, or any quarantine order issued as a result of contract tracing caused by a separate individual testing positive for COVID-19 (e.g. someone determined to be close proximity to an individual testing positive for COVID-19, but who neither themselves been tested nor have a confirmed test result for COVID-19).  
  • Any exhibitor who has been issued a quarantine order, as described in the bullet above, who has a livestock animal(s) registered for a livestock show may have their animal(s) shown by an individual who meets BOTH of the following criteria:
  • Is a sibling of the exhibitor, and
  • Is him/herself an exhibitor at the 2020 Hardin County Fair
  • Any exhibitor meeting the criteria above, who is showing another exhibitor’s animal(s) because of an issued quarantine order, may also participate in the livestock sale in their place.
  • Any exhibitor who does not meet the criteria above may not participate in the livestock show. Their animal will not be allowed on the grounds at any time. The exhibitor is responsible for the marketing of the animal. The exhibitor will be allowed to sell in the Premium Sale – without being present – so long as the exhibitor’s parent(s) or legal guardian authorizes the Hardin County Fair Board to announce, at the time of the Premium Sale, that the exhibitor was unable to participate in the applicable livestock show because of uncontrollable circumstances related to an order issued by KHHD. A form must be completed by the exhibitor’s parent(s) or legal guardian, and that form will be maintained at the Hardin County Fair office. Exhibitors and families can request this authorization form by emailing [email protected]

It was moved and seconded to approve the bulleted items above.  The motion was passed.

The Board reiterated that these changes are being made solely in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and all associated local and state-issued health orders.   

No new business was discussed and the meeting was adjourned.

Board holds September Meeting

The Hardin County Agricultural Society met Wednesday, September 2, 2020, for their September board meeting.  Twenty directors and sixteen guests were present.

Corey Ledley, Board President, called the meeting to order.

Roger Crowe, Hardin County Commissioner, stated the commissioners will be having their first Cares Act Meeting on Thursday, Sept. 10th.

Mark Light, 4-H OSU Extension Agent, talked about their new 4-H App that is up and running.

A thank you from Klover Kids Clover Bud 4-H club was read.  They thanked the board for all of their hard work to have a JR Fair this year.

A correspondence from Mark Badertscher was read.  He stated the Hardin County Fair Carcass Show will be on Friday, September 18th at Jenkin’s Meats and will be a virtual show only.  An OSU meat science judge will evaluate the carcasses.

Judi Cronley, Hardin County Ag. Society Treasurer gave a report on refunds, donations, money rolling over to next year’s fair, and COVID expenses.  Money refunded for just the fair this year is at $35,973, donations for the fair is at $14,449, money being rolled over to next year’s fair is at $32,544.33 and COVID expenses so far are at $13,024.73.  So this year’s fair is already at a loss of $4,068.33, even after the $50,000 from the state was given.  The board is hoping that they will receive some of the county’s Cares Act money, to help alleviate COVID expenses. 

Kelly Buchenroth, chairperson of the Building & Grounds Committee noted that the new railing for the Community Building has been installed.  Barns will be sprayed/disinfected either Thursday or Friday this week.  Thanks to the County Engineer’s office and the Hardin County Commissioners some of the fairground roads have been ground and repaved.  The new sound system has been installed.  Winter storage begins Oct. 1st at $25 a month for vehicles and $10 per linear foot for boats, trailers, campers, RV’s, etc.

Meetings were held this week for each Junior Fair livestock show and there has been great attendance at the meetings.  If someone couldn’t attend their meeting, they should stop by the Secretary’s office before Tuesday, Sept. 8th to get their wristbands and back tags. 

Nancy Rickenbacher, JR Fair Board Advisor, stated that the Hardin County Community Foundation has granted the JR Fair Board the ability to use their grant money on something else for the Fairgrounds, and they have decided to purchase another picnic table.

The board accepted the Emergency Management Meeting Minutes from August 19th.

Under old business:

Season/Membership ticket combos can still be purchased in the secretary’s office for $22 until Oct. 14th.  This ticket will allow someone to run for a director position and vote for directors at the annual election.  JR Fair premium money will be mailed shortly after the fair.

Under new business: Petitions for the November Election for fair board directors are due by Friday, Oct. 30th at 4 pm.  Up for election this year are Goshen Twp. for a one year term, Blanchard, Cessna, Marion, McDonald, Taylor Creek, and two directors at large positions for 3-year terms.  Anyone wanting to run for one of those director positions need to have a 2020 membership ticket and needs to come to the Oct. regular board meeting to state your intentions for running.  Anyone interested in a petition needs to come to the secretary’s office to pick up a petition by Wednesday, Oct. 14th at 4pm.  The board moved to purchase a steer for employees and the 4 hogs for whole hog sausage.  The sausage will be sold to directors and then donated to a local charity.  The board agreed to only have JR Fair Board kids pass out awards in the show rings this year.  The board agreed to have a food vendor event either one or more nights in the near future.  The next regular board meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, Oct. 7th at 7pm.

Fair announces streaming partnership

The Hardin County Fair is excited to announce a partnership with Walton Webcasting to bring “Livestock Like You’ve Never Seen Before” from the Hardin County Fair to the world wide web. The partnership comes in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has forced the fair board to restrict access to the Hardin County Fair. Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine’s Responsible RestartOhio order for County & Independent Fairs encourages the use of streaming technology.

“We realize that watching the live stream isn’t the same as being at the fair,” said Corey Ledley, Hardin County Fair board president. “However, we are thankful for the support of the CARES Act committee that will allow our community to watch the exhibitors show and engage in our fair virtually. Without them, we simply wouldn’t have the funds to do this.”

The funding for this project is being provided by the CARES act through the Hardin County Commissioner’s Office.

“Streaming the shows is an expense unforeseen by the fair board as a result of COVID-19, making it eligible for CARES Act funding,” said Commissioner Roger Crowe who sits on the CARES Act committee in the county. “This is a great use of the funds that shares the work our county’s youth put in all year long raising their projects for exhibition at the county fair.”

All livestock shows will be streamed free of charge for the community at waltonwebcasting.com.

The Junior Fair King & Queen Contest and Junior Fair Livestock Sale will be streamed live on the Hardin County Fair Facebook page.

All shows remain terminal, logistics clarified

The Hardin County Fair Board is issuing clarification and guidance regarding terminal animals entering the food chain. All shows in 2020 will remain terminal like normal. Animals will be loaded to enter the food chain at the conclusion of their show day. Animals with timely harvest appointments scheduled must present proof at their respective species’ exhibitor meeting.

Animals going to custom harvest will remain on the fairgrounds through the close of the fair. Exhibitors will be responsible for caring for their animals through the close of the fair on Sunday at 7 p.m. Exhibitors will be given access to enter the fairgrounds, actively care for their animal, then promptly exit the grounds.

Health Plan Approved, Fair Moves Forward

The Hardin County Fair is announcing an approved version of the Health and Safety plan for the 2020 Hardin County Fair. This plan has been approved by both the Hardin County Fair Board and the Kenton-Hardin Health Department Board of Health.

“While we know this isn’t what anyone wanted for the fair this year – or any year for that matter – this plan will allow us to provide an opportunity for junior fair exhibition this year and keep everyone safe in the process,” said Corey Ledley, president of the Hardin County Fair Board. “We are thankful for the collaboration from the Kenton-Hardin Health Department as well as the hundreds of volunteer hours that went into forming this plan. We are looking forward to holding this year’s junior fair and returning to normal operations in 2021.

“On behalf of Kenton Hardin Health Department we want to thank the Hardin County Fair Board for working with us to bring a plan that kept the communities health a priority, while allowing the youth of the county to showcase the hard work they have put in on their projects. While we know this fair does not look like most, we are grateful to the many fair board members who spent hours planning and working to make this as safe as possible for all involved. We are looking forward to continuing the strong partnership that was developed during these hard circumstances. Thank you Hardin County Fair Board for your time and devotion and willingness to implement these important safety measures. We appreciate your dedication to the health and safety of our community,” said Board of Health Vice President Jeryl Kissling, Public Information Office Kelsey Ralston, Public Information officer, and Registered Sanitarian, Registered Environmental Health Specialist Derek Dunson.

Fair releases draft health plan

The Hardin County Fair Board is sharing the first draft of a health plan allowing for fair operations to continue safely among the COVID-19 pandemic. The plan was submitted to the Kenton-Hardin Health Department on Friday, July 24th. The plan was developed with input from public survey data, committee members, junior fair stakeholders, leaders holding public office and other volunteers. The plan is framed around all guidance and orders from the State of Ohio, Governor Mike DeWine’s Office, and the Ohio Department of Agriculture to hold the Hardin County Fair in the safest and most responsible manner possible.

“The fair board, committee members and other volunteers have spent countless hours over the past two weeks in meetings and donating their time to help us pull this plan together,” said Corey Ledley, President of the Hardin County Fair Board.

“We are confident that the Kenton-Hardin Health Department will contribute to our plan and allow us to host a county fair that meets our community’s expectations while protecting public health amidst these unprecedented times,” said Brad Murphy, board Vice President.

The Hardin County Fair Health Plan is subject to change pending Health Board comments and board approval in a timely manner, and we hope this demonstrates our commitment and resolve to responsibly holding a fair to celebrate youth accomplishments and benefit the Hardin County Community.

“We would like to thank all the volunteers who contributed to the plan,” said Murphy. “We hope that we can reach some resolution with the Kenton Hardin Health Board to continue planning our great fair.”

Board holds July meeting

The Hardin County Agricultural Society met Wednesday, July 1, 2020, for their July board meeting.  Sixteen directors were present (Andrew Scharf, Dan Beale, Justin Beale, Kelly Buchenroth, Craig Decker, Austin Eibling, Craig Stump, Steve Harpster, Corey Ledley, Jack McBride, Brad Murphy, Paul Ralston, Christa Rarey, Jason Fulton, and Rob Wilson.) Ten guests were present (Pete Fout, Mark Badertscher, Roger Crowe, Kolt Buchenroth, Tim Thomas, JR Woods, Denise Woods, Todd Bidlack, Aaron Thompson, Sherri Beale, Nancy Rickenbacher, Mark Light, Marissa Osborne, Catharine Osborne, Kenny Kearns, Preston Brien, Doris Ralston.)

Corey Ledley, Board President, called the meeting to order.

Kenny Kearns asked if the board will allow a draft horse show.

Mark Light, Associate Professor, 4-H Youth Development – Ohio State Extension Hardin County told the board that Extension staff will be conducing non-livestock project judging which will save the board $600 in judges. The judging will be spread over six days. Light also shared that 4-H Clubs can meet in person now and requested that clubs be allowed to meet outdoors on the fairgrounds. It was noted that horse workouts could begin again while following 4-H’s guidelines.

Jami Dellifield, Family & Consumer Sciences Educator – Ohio State Extension Hardin County presented questions and options regarding dish days and other presentations during the fair. She presented ideas for how these events could be held with regards to coronavirus. More planning will be conducted regarding this topic.

Lori Wilson had questions about how the fair is operating this year. More planning will be conducted regarding this topic.

Paul Ralston moved to accept the minutes of the last meeting. Dan Beale seconded the motion. Motion Passed

In correspondence, a letter from Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Director of Agriculture Dorothy Pelenda was shared.

Brad Murphy, Vice President and Chairperson of the Executive Committee, read the minutes from the meeting on June 17th. Craig Stump moved to accept the minutes; Steve Harpster seconded. Motion passed. Brad Murphy continued by presenting the minutes of the July 1st Meeting. Extensive discussion followed regarding the capacity in which to hold the 2020 fair. It was recommended by the Executive Committee to have a full fair. Kelly Buchenroth moved to accept the recommendation. Craig Stump seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

Paul Ralston moved to apply for the grant money from the State of Ohio in the amount of $50,000.

Brad Murphy gave the floor to JR Woods of Durant Amusements who explained why they will not be operating this year. Durant is offering to subcontract with Jessop Amusements. Charlie McCullough moved to allow Durant Amusements to subcontract with Jessop Amusements to provide rides for the 2020 fair. Craig Stump seconded the motion. Motion passed.

Kelly Buchenroth, chairperson of the Building & Grounds Committee noted that JB Tubular is working on the railing for the Community Building accessibility entrance. The last day to store vehicles in the Merchant’s building is July 31st. Hand Sanitizers and signage needs hung around the grounds.

It was noted at the meeting that Livestock judges are needed for Wednesday’s beef show, sheep, and dairy shows. Horse shot records must be turned into the secretary’s office by August 1st. Rabbit tattooing is scheduled for Saturday, August 8th from 9-11am.

Sherri Beale, Junior Fair Board Advisor, noted that the Junior Fair Board has been meeting virtually, and held their first in-person meeting on Monday, June 29th. They have elected officers and Preston Brien was introduced as the president. Brad Murphy made the request that all Junior Fair Board members be heavily encouraged to attend the work sessions.

It was noted that the fair book is ready and will be made available online soon. It was also noted that all fair communications need to be directed through Kolt Buchenroth, Marketing & Communication Director.

Kolt Buchenroth gave an update regarding upgrades in the fair technology system.

Paul Ralston, Chairperson of the gates committee noted that Wednesday is available for any non-profit group that would be interested in working the gates. This is a fundraiser for non-profit groups in the community.

Under old business:

It was noted that The ODA grant was awarded for $50,000 for capital improvement. The first request for this money was sent for $38,801.82 for new sound equipment. Other funds will be used for the digital sign. Dylan Shepherd has done his part of the landscaping at the Community Building. The Paycheck Protection Program was extended and the $13,000 was given to the society will all be used.

Under new business:

The board was reminded of the open class and junior fair entry dates. Junior Fair entries can be made until July 31st. Open Class entries can be made between August 1st and August 21st. The fair office will be opened on August 10th Monday through Friday from 9am – 5pm. Work sessions for fair directors and committee members will be held next week. The schedule was emailed to board members. All members are expected to attend. The next special board meeting is Wednesday, July 15th at 7pm.

State Representative Jon Cross voiced his support of the board for deciding to have a full fair. He reminded the board about the $50,000 coming from the legislature and clarified that there are no stipulations on how that money will be spent.

County Commissioner Roger Crowe noted that the commissioners are supportive and thankful that the board is moving forward with a full fair.

Charlie McCullough moved to adjourn.  Seconded by Justin Beale. Motion passed.

2020 Hardin County Fair To Take Place as Scheduled September 8-13th

Visitors and Participants Will Notice Modifications to Protect Public Health

The Hardin County Fair is on schedule for September 8th-13th, 2020. The health and safety of the community is and always will be the highest priority in producing the annual fair. In the interest of public health, the fair is working to implement a series of modifications to make the fair safer for all involved. Those modifications will be announced as soon as they are finalized.

“We listened to our community stakeholders through our survey,” said Corey Ledley, Hardin County Fair Board President. “The results were overwhelming. We are thankful that our fair has such strong support from the community and that the current state restrictions were relaxed enough for us to hold a fair.”

Fair organizers are cautiously optimistic and will continue to watch for any new developments around COVID-19 that would impact the fair operation, and make modifications accordingly.

“The Hardin County Fair exists to strengthen Hardin County and bring people together,” said Ledley. “We are dedicated to being part of our collective well-being and look forward to our annual event treasured by so many in our community.”