LIMA — “It’s that time of season, it’s that time of year.”
The Allen County Fair is just around the corner, so it’s time for one of Lima’s catchiest jingles to get stuck in your head again.
The jingle has been making its way through radio and television waves since 1985, according to former fair general manager Don Klinger.
It all originated with the help of Lima radio station WIMA’s Bob Zeigler and Tom Francis, who worked with Klinger on a regular basis for fair advertisements.
“(Zeigler) came to me and said what we need to do is have a jingle developed to use year in and year out without changing. Up until that point, we had a different jingle every year,” Klinger explained. “We wanted to develop something to last for years to come where every time people heard the jingle, they’d associate it with the Allen County Fair.”
Klinger and company reached out to a small group of musicians from St. Louis, who wrote and recorded the jingle, for only about $300.
“I don’t recall the exact cost, but it wasn’t terribly expensive because the group that developed it wasn’t that well known,” Klinger said.
He couldn’t recall the name of the group or individuals, but it only took them one try to come up with the song we all know and love.
“We gave them an idea of what we were looking for and they made it in their studio,” he said. “We reviewed it and thought it was what we were looking for and implemented it in advertising that summer between July and August on the radio to begin with.”
In the late ‘80s, the jingle began being used in television, where current fair manager Bob Fricke said it is crucial. Two weeks ago the team was working on its commercials for this year’s fair when Fricke noticed one of the four ads commercials didn’t have the jingle. It was scrapped and redone.
“When you hear the opening or closing, it makes you think of the Allen County Fair without hearing anything else, and that is just such a key piece of marking,” Fricke said. “It’s just been so effective. Even though it was started 20 plus years ago, people hear it and think of our fair and you cannot beat when something is branding that way. That jingle has definitely become our brand. It’s been used well over 20 years, and we’re going to continue using it.”
Klinger, along with Fricke, said they aren’t sure why it caught on like it has, but think it may have something to do with its simplicity.
“It’s just one of those things people picked up on and have always remembered. I’m not sure why, if there’s anything specific about it that made it last this long,” Klinger said. “It’s an easy thing to pick up on and remember … it’s kind of like any other jingle associated with commercials. People hear it in their minds and it goes to the fair.”
Fricke said it’s even something that’s pulled people in regionally.
“It’s fantastic because you hear the jingle, and even if you’re not from the area, you know it’s the Allen County Fair,” he said. “You just can’t beat that.”
Reach Tara Jones at 567-242-0511