LIMA — There are so many things you could go to see and do at the Allen County Fair, which began Friday afternoon.
With all the rides, food and events, it’d be easy to choose any of these as your favorite part of the fair. The 2019 Allen County Fair King, Brandon Suever, went a more sentimental route.
“It’s all the memories you make here,” said Suever, an incoming senior from Fort Jennings, shortly after helping cut the giant red ribbon to officially open the 2019 edition of the fair Friday. “You meet all your friends, many who you haven’t seen since last year.”
Suever’s fair queen for the year, Ashley Huck, of Allen East, agreed the memories you make at the fair are its greatest asset. She recalled the friendships she’s made as she grew up at the fair, starting off with a non-livestock project for 4-H before moving on to chickens and then goats.
“There are just so many memories at the fair,” she said.
The 169th edition of the Allen County Fair started off with the Ohio State University Alumni Band playing before the ceremonial ribbon-cutting. Long before the vendors opened the windows on their food trucks or the rides began swinging and swaying, people young and old wandered the midway at the Allen County Fairgrounds. Moo-rice, the fair’s cow mascot, posed for pictures with children.
Bob Fricke, the general manager of the fair, acknowledged it’s a lot of work to get the fairgrounds ready for the annual showcase of livestock, food and fun. He also noted there were still 148 tickets available as of Friday afternoon for Saturday night’s Kane Brown concert, which could have the largest audience in fair history if it sells out.
Brad Foy, the president of the Allen County Agricultural Society, reminisced about how integral the Allen County Fair has been to his life. During the opening ceremony, he recalled setting up a camper in the same spot he had every year since he was 9 years old, giving him 40 years of memories.
“This just couldn’t happen without the volunteers and support from all the directors, the Junior Fair board members and all those people without a title who help and come out here every year,” Hoy said.
The fair, which runs through Saturday, Aug. 24, has some beautiful weather likely in store, with warm temperatures and rain only predicted today and Wednesday, according to Accuweather.
That will give people plenty of time to sample the foods at the fair. Suever said he’s partial to the rib-eye steak sandwiches at the Allen County Cattleman’s Association booth. Huck recommended the pork burgers from the Allen County Pork Producers booth.
There are plenty of rides too from Poor Jack’s Amusements, ranging from classics such as the Expo Wheel and the Super Slide to higher intensity thrills, such as the Starship 8000 and the Orbiter.
Friday night marked the annual Kewpee Showcase of Bands. The rest of the nightly grandstand schedule includes Kane Brown tonight, New Frontiers/Fleetwood 2 the Max/Takin’ It Back on Sunday night, demolition derby on Monday night, KOI Drags on Tuesday night, the cheerleading competition on Wednesday night, harness racing on Thursday and Friday nights and the livestock scramble next Saturday.
“The fair is officially open,” Fricke said. “Enjoy your week.”