Thursday, July 30th, 2020

Auglaize County Fair plans adjust to fit state orders

By Amy Kronenberger
WAPAKONETA - Plans for the 168th Auglaize County Fair, set for Sunday-Aug. 8, had to be scrapped at the last minute after Gov. Mike DeWine's Tuesday announcement that fairs are limited to junior fair events only.
DeWine's order limits fairs to livestock competitions, 4-H and other events for children and teens. It also allows harness racing without spectators and food vendors.
Fair manager Ed Doenges on Tuesday said he and fair organizers have a lot of work to do before this weekend - noting livestock will arrive on Friday - but they would get it done.
On the chopping block are all entertainment programs, including performers at the gospel and entertainment tents, programs at the grandstands and all amusements and rides. All senior fair programs, such as craft demonstrations, culinary and horticulture competitions and the quilt show have been canceled. Seniors', kids' and veterans' days also have been nixed, and the commercial building will be closed.
Fair organizers spent a lot of time on Wednesday evening comparing junior fair livestock shows and open-class animal shows and considered changing the rules to allow open-class shows, Doenges said. In the end they decided against the idea and cut the open shows from the schedule.
"We don't want to start changing rules now and create issues," he said, noting concerns of being shut down if they attempted to hold them. "We just need to be satisfied with the junior fair as it is."
Doenges said the harness races will go on, albeit without the cheering crowds, although food will be available.
"We're looking to have about half the vendors we usually do, so we'll still have a good selection of food," he said.
The king and queen coronations, style review and all other programs for kids and teens are still a go, he said.
The opening ceremony and ribbon-cutting planned for Sunday at noon is still planned but could possibly be altered, Doenges said, adding he has a few ideas but hadn't yet shared them with anyone.
Organizers had been working diligently long before DeWine's order to protect fairgoers from COVID-19, Doenges noted.
Extra wash stations have been installed and plenty of hand sanitizer will be placed throughout the grounds for everyone to use, he said. Signs will also strongly encourage people to practice social distancing and to wear face masks. DeWine's mandate that face coverings or masks must be worn in all public places in Ohio went into effect on July 23.
The livestock auctions will be held virtually. Buyers have been sent website and login information to bid on the animals they choose. The auction will open on Monday and close on Aug. 15.
A few other changes have been enacted, Doenges said. The junior fair exhibit building will not feature individual 4-H group booths - the floor space will be open - and the clothing review will take place in the gospel tent, which is larger this year, to allow for more space and better social distancing.
"We are moving forward as best we can," Doenges said earlier this month. "Things are gonna be different, but I think it's going to be a nice fair that people can come out and enjoy."
Ticket prices at the gate are $8 each. Kids ages 12 and younger have free admission.
The schedule is subject to change at any time, so the public is encouraged to visit for the latest updates. The most recent fair schedule is as follows:

• noon - ribbon-cutting at the front gate; rabbit weigh-in
• 12:45 p.m. - special-interest awards presentation, gospel tent
• 1 p.m. - 4-H style review, gospel tent
• 2 p.m. - live part junior fair beef carcass show in the Piehl Arena
• 3 p.m. - Auglaize County Equine Queen and Princess Competition in the horse arena; junior fair market broiler and turkey show, location TBD
• 5 p.m. - junior fair meeting, junior fair office

• 9 a.m. - junior fair horse and pony show, horse arena; junior fair swine showmanship, swine arena
• 10 a.m. - junior fair market and Boer breeding goat show, Piehl Arena
• 6 p.m. - junior fair king and queen coronation, gospel tent
• 7:30 p.m. - junior fair board meeting, junior fair office

• 8 a.m. - junior fair rabbit showmanship and show, swine arena
• 10 a.m.-noon - junior fair dairy show and showmanship, Piehl Arena, milk cows released immediately after the show
• 4 p.m. junior fair sheep breeding, showmanship, market lamb show, Piehl Arena
• 5 p.m. - junior fair board meeting, junior fair office
• 6:30 p.m. - harness racing-Moon City Trot
• 9 a.m. - junior fair market hog show, swine arena
• noon - junior fair board meeting, junior fair office
• 2 p.m. - junior fair beef breeding and feeder calf show, Piehl Arena, followed by junior fair beef showmanship
• 6:30 p.m. - harness racing-Moon Walk Pace; junior fair horse contesting show, horse arena
• 7 p.m. - junior fair dairy and market steer shows, show arena, carcass contest and rate-of-gain results will be announced during the steer show
Aug. 6
• 8:30 a.m. - junior fair poultry showmanship and breeding show, Piehl Arena East
• 9 a.m. - junior fair goat showmanship and dairy, pygmy goat show, Piehl Arena West
• 1-7 p.m. - American Red Cross blood drive
• 4 p.m. - junior fair board meeting, junior fair office
• 7 p.m. - showmanship sweepstakes, Piehl Arena

Aug. 7
• 9 a.m. - junior fair horse roping show, horse arena, followed by horse fun show
• 3:30-4:30 p.m. - weigh-in for open sheep and goat shows
• 5:30 p.m. junior fair board meeting, junior fair office

Aug. 8
• 4 p.m. - junior fair board meeting at the junior fair office
• 7 p.m. - best dressed animal and animal calling contest at the Piehl Arena
• 11 p.m.-midnight - rabbit and poultry projects are released.
• midnight - all junior fair projects released.
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