Attendance up, spirits down at fair’s opening

Hackers, vandals mar weekend

By Melanie Yingst -

MIAMI COUNTY — The Miami County Fair has flourished under sunny skies and seasonable temperatures, yet there was a cloud of disappointment lingering as social media hackers and vandals dampened spirits during opening weekend.

Miami County Fair secretary and manager Jill Wright said attendance on Saturday broke the 2015 record of 24,953 who passed through the gates on opening Saturday.

While attendance was up, spirits were down Sunday morning.

Wright confirmed a vulgar SnapChat message that was modified to look like it came fom the Miami County Fair’s social media account.

“We tried to get it removed. It’s not on our (account), it’s on someone else’s. We reported it as spam that was offensive,” Wright said Sunday.

The anti-Semitic, hate-filled message targeted members of the LGBQT community.

Wright manages the fair’s social media accounts during the year except fair week, when the official photographer takes over the accounts.

Wright was contacted by Dave Fisher, a member of the Miami County Board of Elections, who found the message and notified the fair office early Sunday.

“It’s not us, but it looks like it,” Wright said. “We reported it as offensive and see what they’ll do.”

Fisher confirmed that the message was removed.

“It’s unfortunate, very unfortunate,” Fisher said. “This does not reflect on the majority of the people in this county.”

Wright also confirmed the fairground’s brand-new restroom and shower house facility was vandalized in the early morning hours on Saturday.

“The respect of the property, being brand-new, wasn’t maintained, so unfortunately, the first night we had to shut them down at 11 p.m. and had to open them back up at 7 a.m. When we closed them at night, they were mostly fine,” she said. “The fair board works really hard for this grant money — above and beyond. To have this done the first night was upsetting.”

Wright said there was no monetary property damage to the facility, but vandals tore down shower curtains, plugged toilets and littered the room with cans and trash. Vandals also strew beer cans throughout the horse arena, forcing the grounds crew to clean up the arena to prep for the next day’s shows.

“The driver in the arena kept having to get out and pick up cans,” she said.

No one has claimed responsibility for either incident.
Hackers, vandals mar weekend

By Melanie Yingst

Reach Melanie Yingst on Twitter @Troydailynews

Reach Melanie Yingst on Twitter @Troydailynews