Winchester- How an interstate highway changed the face of one small town Facebook – a growing marketplace for local entrepreneurs When kids know best Giving some love to those dog days Junior Fair BBQ again a big success Beulah B James Senior Profile: Josie Myers Lady Indians place second at Ohio Classic in Hillsboro MVCA dominates Greyhounds in 45-0 triumph For Lady Devils, SHAC streak goes to 55 matches 9/11: Sixteen years later Gertrude Gibson Defender Bowl coming Sept. 16 Joyce A Walker Virginia R Young Senior Profile: Abby Campton West Union hosts 2017 Dragon Run New gridiron history begins for Peebles Trout, fire, and blueberry fields forever Senior Profile: Baylee Justice Lady Devils win SHAC thriller at Eastern Brown From Blue Creek to the Beaneaters Tough loss for Greyhounds in season opener Turning tragedy into hope What we learn from failure Absolutely had to get the wrinkles out Frances S Kidder Leo Trotter 41st Bentonville Festival set to begin Sept. 8 Winchester celebrates its history during three-day street fair Cruisefest returning to streets of Peebles Blue Creek- a community in transition honors its history and heritage Cuteness Galore – Winchester Homecoming Festival Baby Show Ronnie L Day Cast your vote for the Adams County Fairgrounds Nelson E Atkinson Ryan L Colvin Richard Tackett William L Tadlock Penny Pollard Wendell Beasley West Union soccer drops pair at Mason County Lady Indians go down in straight sets Senior Profile: Michael Gill Senior Profile: Katie Sandlin Royals dominate in big win over North Adams Dragons continue County Cup domination Archaeology Day returns to Serpent Mound Hourglass Quilt Square is back up again Manchester family hosts International Guests History, farming, and family- the bedrock of Cherry Fork’s community Bus drivers, emergency responders prepare for coming school year Working up a real good sweat What’s behind the motive? Rondal R Bailey Jr Thelma J Yates She’s all grown up now Scott A Yeager Soccer talent on display at 2017 SHAC preview Baseball community mourns the loss of Gene Bennett Winchester Homecoming Festival is Aug 25-27 Eleanor P Tumbleson Felicity man killed in Ohio River boating accident WUHS golfers take Portsmouth Invitational It was pretty cold that day Volleyball kicks off with SHAC Preview Night Young awarded Women’s Western Golf Foundation Scholarship One Mistake Senator Portman visits GE Test Facility in Peebles Adams County school districts facing some major challenges for the coming year Family, friends, and roots: the ties that bind residents of one Adams County village What is your strength? Just the chance to take a look back Ronnie L Wolford Dale J Marshall Herbert Purvis Great American Solar Eclipse coming Aug. 21 BREAKING NEWS: West Union wins fifth consecutive County Cup Wallace B Boden John L Fletcher Lady Indians golfers learning the links North Adams, West Union golfers open 2017 seasons This Labor Day, ‘Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over’ Blanton announces candicacy for Court of Appeals Local student attends Congress of Future Medical Leaders MHS welcomes new principal Made in America When it feels like you’re spinning plates Bonfires and “building” a farm Lady Devils looking to take that next step 50 years of Bengal memories Ag Society delivers donation to Dragonfly Foundation Young Memorial Scholarship awarded to a pair of local seniors ‘Musical passion is in his blood’ Naylor named NAHS Principal Boldman retiring after 17 years as Homeless Shelter director Manchester concludes another River Days celebration Drug Treatment vs. Prison James R Brown Bobby Lawler Jr

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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