LIMA — This year’s Allen County Fair will be a throwback to what the earliest fairs may have looked like.
Fair manager Bob Fricke did his annual fair preview at Monday’s Lima Rotary Club meeting, sharing how different this year’s fair, scheduled for Aug. 21 through 27, will look without the general public.
“I guess we’re going back to what the fair started out as — livestock exhibits and harness racing,” he said. “They grew into commercial, they grew into the rides, they grew into the games, everything you see out there now with commercial vendors. This is going back to the most simplistic fair, probably what they started out as where it was on a very small scale.”
Harness racing will continue on Monday and Tuesday, Aug. 24 and 25, with no spectators. The livestock auction and carcass show will also return for one-day events, and they will be open to only credentialed buyers. Those interested in becoming a buyer can contact the fair office at 419-228-7141.
Knowing they are a tradition for fairgoers to enjoy, Fricke said the fair board and office staff are trying to develop ways the public can still watch.
“We’re working on the details and we plan on doing some live-streaming of our livestock shows as well as the auction, too,” Fricke said. “That way people who are not able to be at the fairgrounds can at least get online and check it out, maybe through Facebook Live, which is much more common — there’s a lot of different ideas, and we’ve got good people working on that.
“I’m not diminishing those junior fair shows because they are going to be very competitive like they always are, it’s just going to be different because not all of us can be there to see those shows and appreciate what those kids have done,” he added.
The board is also considering opening to the public Friday and Saturday, Aug. 28 and 29, so fairgoers can enjoy the food vendors.
At Monday’s meeting, Fricke also announced the fairgrounds will be launching the capital campaign for a new expo building on its grounds. The original plan was to announce the project to the public during this year’s fair.
The current plans include a 60,000-square-foot building with heat and air conditioning that could be used year-round for events. Fricke said the tentative plan is to break ground in 2022 following that year’s Max’s Water Dog Races.
Reach Tara Jones at 567-242-0511.