David Kierzek Theresa C Davis Edward F Storer Ralph Rader DP&L to stick with planned closings Preventing tax season identity theft 4-H awards 11 local scholarships Peebles Elementary holds Spirit Week Humane Society to hold Radio Auction Local business partners find historical treasure in old bank building DP&L employees meet with union leadership GE-Peebles Test Operation joins the campaign about Distracted Driving North Adams Elementary recognizes February Students of the Month Senior Profile: Sydney Michael Stars will shine for the 34th annual C-103 All-Star Game NAHS Track/XC host Shamrock Shuffle 5K Associated Press names All-Southeast District Teams Senior Profile: Hannah Howard Nice to finally be a small part of March Madness The tractor has always been special Jimmy Nelson Kathryn Boldman James E Downs Manchester grad enjoys a “Super” Experience Taking Adams County patriotism to the state capitol John P Sininger Jo Ann Hayslip Harvey U Schrock Eunice G. Burgess Senior Profile: Kaulen St Michael Cox Racing returns to Brushcreek on April 2 Southern Hills Athletic Conference holds Winter Sports Awards ceremony County provides multiple walking venues Adams County parks are tobacco-free Rhoads Memorial 5K Run/Walk is April 9 Peebles Elem. Staff of the Month Floyd E Maddy Raymond A Holt Derrick Poe Spencer E McFarland Mintie F Rogers Roberta Eylar Big Time Wrestling coming to NAHS Carl Tomlin CTC students help with storm clean-up Opening the door for high-tech jobs Jack R Slyger Thomas Stratton Jr Eastern Lady Warriors headed to Final Four Senior Profile: Logan Rogers Southern Hills Athletic Conference names 2016-17 All-Conference Basketball Teams Winchester PD continues assault on drugs Alonso joins Defender staff Sheriff to set up outpost in Manchester Johnson named OEDA Membership Chairperson Sherman E Young Ruth Jackman ‘Kitten Season’ comes to Ohio Manchester Council votes to disband PD Olde Wayside Inn under new management Two overdose on heroin Senior Profile: Ethan Parrett Adams/Brown Youth League holds postseason tourney Three nights of pain Furious rally falls short, Lady Devils again eliminated in Div. III district finals, 45-42 Oscar Moore Barbara J Finnegan Ohio Senate and House honor Miss Ohio USA Michael Eldridge Frances Towner Thelma R Williamson BREAKING NEWS: Manchester council votes to eliminate police department Before all dogs go to heaven Adaptive Bikes delivered in Adams County Adams County Junior Fair Market Hog Identification plans announced for 2017 Local couple takes ownership of two local businesses Jo Hanson to retire after nearly 50 years in banking Sierra Club, hero or villain? Greyhounds, Devils are runners-up in SHAC Tournaments Harold L Purdin Senior Profile: Jacob Wickerham 98-year old author publishes first book Early March storm packs destructive punch Jeeps rally in second half to end the Peebles season How about some post season awards? Thanks for all the great sports coverage PHS Principal hopes to expand students’ world view When spring becomes a promise Greg Lorenz Clay shoots the lights out, shoots down Greyhounds’ season Senior Profile: Savannah McFarland Devils put up a good fight, but fall to Portsmouth in sectional final, 50-43 Second half comeback sends Lady Devils to district finals for third straight year Butts honored by Southeast District Athletic Board North Adams Elementary holds Random Acts of Kindness Week Chester W Eyre BREAKING NEWS: March makes its entrance with force WUES kicks off Right to Read Week with guest readers WUHS students see Aronoff show on the life of Edgar Allan Poe Local high school seniors winners of Wendy’s Heisman Awards

Hard work pays off, 2016 Adams County Fair a big success

The 2016 Adams County Fair was deemed a success by everyone involved and this beautiful overhead shot of the fairgrounds by David Purdin captures the crowd and action from Saturday night, July 16, the fair’s final night.
The 2016 Adams County Fair was deemed a success by everyone involved and this beautiful overhead shot of the fairgrounds by David Purdin captures the crowd and action from Saturday night, July 16, the fair’s final night. Photo courtesy of Davis Purdin

Record-breaking crowds found something for everyone –

By Patricia Beech –

“I would absolutely do this again.”

Liz Lafferty says in no uncertain terms that, if asked, she’d happily continue to serve as President of the Adams County Fair Board. “Bringing the fair together is a lot of work, but the rewards far outweigh the pains, says Lafferty.

A week at the fair is all about joy and smiles and no one personified that more than 9-year old Isabella Crum from Peebles as she showed her Angus crossbred steer in her first year as an active 4-H member.
A week at the fair is all about joy and smiles and no one personified that more than 9-year old Isabella Crum from Peebles as she showed her Angus crossbred steer in her first year as an active 4-H member. Photo by Mark Carpenter

She and the Senior Fair Board have much to be proud of. Over 15,000 people attended this year’s fair, with record-breaking numbers on opening night, and Saturday’s animal sale bringing in more than $300,000. “It was a great year for the fair,” says Lafferty. “We have incredibly supportive business people in our community who really come through for our kids at fair time.”
A well-spring of boundless energy, Lafferty has brought a spirit of synergy to her fair team. “My philosophy is that everyone needs to work together and pull their own weight,” she says. “Layer upon layer of people contribute to making the fair successful – from our sponsors and the business community to the Sheriff’s office, the county EMS teams, and the fire and police departments – everyone contributes something.”

In recent years many of Ohio’s county fairs have struggled with a lack of funding, aging infrastructure, and falling attendance numbers. Lafferty was determined that Adams County’s fair would not go down that path. “Five years ago our Junior Fair was in good shape, but for people not in 4-H, the fair was really lacking,” she says. “There were no vendors, very few rides, and I decided I wanted to see it return to the way it was when I was a kid.”

One of the tough moments of fair week is the goodbye between the young  people and their animals.  Here, Madee Shipley gets set to take her sheep into the sale arena.
One of the tough moments of fair week is the goodbye between the young people and their animals. Here, Madee Shipley gets set to take her sheep into the sale arena. Photo by Mark Carpenter

As a participating member of Leadership Adams in 2012, she chose the fair as her community project. Working with a team that included Judge Brett Spencer, Chris Harover and Brad Jones, she developed a vision for a successful county fair. “I knew it would take three to five years to build it back up to what it once was,” Lafferty said. “We needed new blood, we needed connections, we needed business people, the good-old- boy philosophy wouldn’t work anymore.”
The 2016 fair was the culmination of four years of work aimed at making her vision a reality. Fair goers were treated to parade and pageantry, music, car, tractor, and motorcycle displays, Motor Cross, Demolition Derbies and tractor pulls, horse shows and animal showmanship, concessions and amusement rides, competitions and contests culminating with the popular Barnyard Olympics, and much more.

“People were happy and excited,” said Lafferty. “Everywhere you looked there was something for everyone.” According to Lafferty, putting the right people in the right job was critical to making the event successful, and she praises those who headed up the different projects and attractions.

“We had good people working to make the fair happen, and we realized everyone is more effective when they’re focused on their own passion, so we tried to steer them in the direction of their interests,” she says. “When there were problems, we challenged them to figure it out and bring it back to the board.”

The Thursday night rodeo performance drew an estimated 1,700 people to the grandstand.  Photo by Mark Carpenter
The Thursday night rodeo performance drew an estimated 1,700 people to the grandstand. Photo by Mark Carpenter

While Lafferty relied on oversight, rather than micro-managing her fair team during the planning phase, she took a hands-on approach during the fair. Moving into a camper on the fairgrounds on July 9, she stayed the entire week, working every day from 7 a.m. until 1:30 to 2 a.m. in the morning.

“We spent an entire year planning for one week, and, everything went so well. The grounds were beautiful, the events were successful, the concessions were great,” she said,.“The excitement and positive reactions we’ve received really warms my heart.”

Despite the fair’s success, Lafferty isn’t about to rest on her laurels, but plans to continue working to improve the grounds and fair events. “We have more work to do in the Derby area, we need more seating and better parking. Both derbies and the rodeo did very well, we couldn’t have got another person in there. With the funds we raise at the Grandstand Bonanza Dinners and the grant money we’ve received we’ll continue renovating building by building.”

Alex Clark competes here in the annual People’s Defender Cornhole Tournament, held on Friday morning of this year’s fair.  Photo by Mark Carpenter
Alex Clark competes here in the annual People’s Defender Cornhole Tournament, held on Friday morning of this year’s fair. Photo by Mark Carpenter

(For more photo coverage from the Defender team of this year’s Adams County Fair, check out pages 15 and 16 of today’s newsstand issue.)

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2016 People's Defender