Peebles Elementary hosts PBIS showcase NAES student starting Christmas Card project Try and tell them that nobody cares Senior Profile: Ethan Thompson 15-point lead vanishes, Hounds fall in season opener Deer Gun Season results down all across Ohio Hometown Christmas in Peebles rings in the holiday season Manchester Elementary receives 2016 Momentum Award Drug bust in West Union Stephen C Foster Donna Rivers WUES students perform as part of Honor Choir Ohio Brush Creek Canoe/Kayak access completed Hall of Fame Christmas in Portsmouth Thyme to trim the Christmas Tree Junior High Lady Hounds get season-opening sweep Lady Devils roll past Paint Valley in season opener Senior Profile: Jessica Johnson Michael E Roberts Sr Evelyn L Jones Thomas M Calvert Ryan, Sowards lead Lady Indians to easy win in season opener, 57-36 over Felicity Senior Profile: Wes Hayslip Justice off to hot start at VSU County boys’ squads on display in annual SHAC Preview Night ‘Operation Christmas Child’ collects 1,707 shoe boxes for needy children Two animal cruelty cases investigated in Adams County DP&L considers closing power-generating plants in county Holiday spirit makes an early appearance in Adams County Chester A Mann Jeffrey A Daley Sr Michael G Tincher DAR sponsors Good Citizen Award Ohio’s young hunters harvest nearly 6,000 deer during Youth Gun Season Senior Profile: Kayle Thomas Helen N Hiestand Rev Walter R Egnor Sr Betty Beam Jamie L Corrill Jeffrey L Heppard Edsel L Massey Jr It is time to stop and take time to give thanks on a special day Another year to be very thankful for Senior Profile: Savannah McCoy McCoy signs to continue golf career at SSU North Adams hosts SHAC Girls Preview DAR commemorates 50th anniversary of Vietnam War Historical Society honors veterans Star Wars routine leads Fancy Free Cloggers to ‘America’s Got Talent’ A Day at the Opera Eagle Creek draws community to Thanksgiving celebration Ward ekes out victory over Worley in county commissioner race Mary A Garman Ronald L Palmer Joseph S McClanahan II Emma O Hayslip Devils slip by Georgetown in Foundation Game Hupp, Hunter, Wolke named OSSCA Second Team All-State Senior Profile: Kain Turner Lady Devils romp in Foundation Game Oh, those aromas coming from Mom’s kitchen What Became My Biggest Project Deer gun season set to begin ‘Trees to Textbooks’ shares revenues with local schools and communities BREAKING NEWS Winchester’s Baxter wins Miss Ohio USA 2017 pageant Genny Elkins Pauline S Stevenson Donald E Lewis Sr Charlotte R Seaman Ruth Prater Bennie Skaggs Gertrude Swayne West Union High School hosts impressive Veterans Day ceremonies Peebles Elementary hosts ceremony to honor local veterans Duke Energy exits Killen and Stuart Plants GE Aviation hosts annual Veterans Day celebration Senior Profile: Logan Gordley Jeffrey A Brown Sr Peebles Library welcomes local author and survivor on Nov. 19 Homer C Eldridge Robert W Schomberg One Commissioner race too close to call in unofficial count Voters approve majority of county levies on Tuesday’s election ballot NAES Sixth Graders practice the democratic process Honoring one who gave the ‘last full measure of devotion’ Overcoming adversity, veteran of Iraq War opens local business Senior Profile: Ben Figgins Senior Profile: Macy Mullenix SHAC Basketball Previews are set for Nov. 18 and 25 Trio of local golfers finish careers with trip to the highest level of high school competition Peebles sophomore Jenny Seas finishes sixth in OHSAA state cross-country meet Upset win sends Trump to the White House ACRMC awarded plaque for 50 years of service Peebles Elementary releases Honor Roll for First Nine Week Grading Period BREAKING ELECTION NEWS! Senior Profile: Jordyn Kell Orlie H Kirker Military homecoming at NAES

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