LIMA — There’s new leadership to guide the Allen County Agricultural Society.
The board of trustees on Wednesday night named Chad Hughes, 33, of Harrod, to be their new Promotions and Operations Manager, effective Nov. 2.
The board approved a one-year contract at the board meeting. He’ll be paid $65,000.
Hughes replaces Bob Fricke, whose contract was not renewed after serving as manager since 2015.
Hughes assumes the leadership role after this year’s fair lost thousands of dollars due to COVID-19 mandates that made the fair a junior fair-only event. The fair board closed this year’s fair to the general public.
“I’m just excited to figure out how to navigate the fair through this wonderful pandemic that we’re all experiencing but also bring some new creative ideas and then focus on the youth of Allen County and agriculture in our mission,” Hughes said.
Hughes has been involved with the Allen County Fair for quite a long time in many different ways.
“Since I was 9 years old, I’ve actually been involved with the fair. I started out as the fair mascot, worked in the office with the office staff and was the media coordinator, then rebranded the fair and was their webmaster for a while and handled social media,” Hughes said. “So I’ve been involved for about 25 years.”
Most recently Hughes worked at Lima Memorial Health System in the marketing department.
He’s a graduate of the Columbus College of Art & Design, graduating in 2010 with a bachelor’s degree in advertising, photography and copywriting.
Hughes hopes to see the fairgrounds get more use, not just during the fair.
“I think the biggest challenge here is just making agriculture relevant and making people realize that the fair can become a destination all the time,” Hughes said. “Every weekend there should be something here. So figuring out how we can get events here all the time, all year long, and bringing people to our region and to Lima (is the goal).”
He’s looking forward to keeping the tradition going.
“Since 1851, the citizens of Allen county have come together to create this annual tradition at the end of summer. And I’m excited to see how we can make that and continue to see it grow,” Hughes said.
Reach Sam Shriver at 567-242-0409.