Wilbur named to the Wilmington College Dean’s List Opal Van Hoose Ruby Yazell Chris Volk North Adams High School holds annual Homecoming ceremonies Six workers injured in power plant explosion Commissioners hold proclamation ceremony for 4-H Week Senior Profile: Shyanne Tucker Coach Young Classic is Saturday at NAHS Helen Kerr Anna L DeMint The garden that got us through the winter months Virginia L Fricker JV Devils top Northwest 51-34 Senior Profile: Caitlin Young North Adams moves to 7-5 with 16-point Homecoming win over Northwest Held to a higher standard Claudia J Purtee Shaylee E Prewitt Questions still linger in Stuart explosion Richard Holsinger J Ruth Madden Frank E Swayne Robert Bechdolt Sara D Hatfield Barbara Goodwin Jeffrey Frederick Grace E Myers Johnny A Sullender Sr. Senator Joe Uecker sworn-in for second term Wenstrup sworn in for third term in House Ronald L Chochard Patrick P Clift Samuel W Freeland Senior Profile: Casey Mullenix Lady Dragons win ugly, taking Classic consolation game over Manchester, 48-45 Greyhounds roll by West Union to take Classic consolation game, 82-58 History made as Ward takes oath of office Peter A Bennington Tangela R King McDonald’s Classic crowns 2016 champions MVP Arey leads Peebles to McDonald’s Classic title, Indians outlast North Adams 82-76 in double overtime thriller Lady Devils get Classic three-peat, make it 10 of 11, 14 titles for Coach Davis Senior Profile: Raegan Dick Teaching students the power of giving Kids at Children’s Home gifted with shopping spree Marion Liming Dorothy Huff John R Murphy Michael L McAninch Rita Rogers Edward L Combs Ronald W Staggs Mary H Grooms Gladys Wilson Donald Barnhill Monda Van Vorren Deborah Spires Senior Profile: Andre Wolke Indians pull away in second half, get past Manchester 71-58 in Classic semis On home floor, Lady Indians move to Classic title game North Adams handles West Union, Devils move to Classic finals with 68-53 victory Lady Devils roll into Classic championship Beth E Rowley Leatrice Lewis Senior Profile: Justin Aldridge Mary Helterbridle Wanda Huffman PES Performing Arts entertains at Hometown Christmas Adams County Manor sends holiday wishes Peebles Lions Club hosts Christmas breakfast Elusive Elf on a Shelf makes a return visit to PES Santas in blue spread Christmas cheer in a very special way Senior Profile: Aubrey McFarland WUHS holds Hall of Fame induction ceremonies WUHS Academic Team has undefeated season Serving those who served their country From Pearl Harbor to ‘America’s Got Talent’, 93-year-old WWII vet is still going strong Yester Years brings a touch of old to the new Merry Christmas to you all North Adams Elementary announces Spelling Bee winners Peebles High School hosts Homecoming ceremonies Children in need receive gifts at PES Adams County Manor holds annual Door Decorating Contest WUHS celebrates with numerous Christmas activities Halftime lead quickly vanishes, Dragons fall to Northwest 73-62 in Saturday night non-conference match up Tammy S Scott Oscar Hilterbrandt Neil R Swayne Beulah M Daniels McDonald’s Classic begins Dec. 27 Letters to Santa Senior Profile: Tyler Swearingen Leadership Adams donates to local outreach programs North Adams student/athletes are part of Holiday Sharing Event Senior Profile: Kylie Lucas West Union Elementary holds Academic Fair on Dec. 2 WUES holds annual Spelling Bee NAHS Art students help out the Humane Society Peebles Elementary announces Spelling Bee winners

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