MIAMI COUNTY — Partly sunny skies and a pleasantly balmy clime set the stage for Friday’s opening ceremonies under the big tent at the Miami County Fair.
Taking the microphone for another year as emcee, County Commissioner John “Bud” O’Brien beckoned the crowd to stand for the presentation of the flag, a serene rendition of the national anthem by Miami East grad Bryce Redick, and the recitation of the Pledge of the Allegiance.
Following a prayer by fair board Vice President Nick Shellenberger, O’Brien expressed gratitude to those who help pull off the Herculean task of making the fair happen each summer.
Referring to the junior fair board, he said, “They are the future of your Miami County Fair.”
O’Brien noted that he and his fellow commissioners have a “very good working relationship” with the senior fair board and mentioned fairgrounds refurbishments they worked on with board members.
“Last year, we did some asphalt projects on the north end of the parking lot area, and then we continued that this year on the north end of the Duke Lundgard building and the building just north of that,” he said.
“I hope that folks recognize that and see the improvements we’re partnering with the fair board on to help keep the fairgrounds in great shape.”
To the fair board, he said, “Your continued efforts are noticed, and you should feel very proud of what you’ve been able to accomplish.”
Several elected official were in attendance at the opening ceremonies, including Sen. Bill Beagle, Miami County Treasurer Jim Stubbs, Miami County Sheriff Dave Duchak, and County Commissioner Greg Evans, as well as Miami County Health Commissioner Dennis Propes.
Sam Bain, a representative from Sen. Rob Portman’s office read a proclamation in which Portman stated, “I wish I could be here with you today for the opening of the Miami County Fair … where crowds and families gather to celebrate the proud legacy and rich tradition of agriculture in our great state, and maybe eat a little fair food as well — or a lot in my case.”
Fair royalty was well-represented at the ceremonies, with last year’s species royalty — poultry, goat and beef — introducing themselves, and 2017 Fair Queen Abigail Hissong sharing that it has been an “honor and a privilege” presiding as queen.
“What an experience it has been!” Hissong exclaimed, going on to thank the senior and junior fair boards for their dedication. “You guys do so much work for this fair and oftentimes, it goes unrecognized.
Hissong said it also has been an honor to meet people across the state and “share what makes Miami County so special — the people that truly strive to make this fair what it really is.”
Fair board President Mike Jess spoke briefly, touching on some of the highlights of the week to come, including the drag races, tractor pulls, Sunday’s concert headlined by McGuffey Lane, and the return of the demolition derby after an eight-year absence.
Closing the ceremonies, O’Brien noted that, with the end of the year bringing the expiration of his term as commissioner, “This may be my last chance get to thank people. It’s been a great honor to serve you, and I will miss the role of county commissioner a lot,” he said.
“Thank you for all the time and have a great fair week!”
Reach Belinda M. Paschal at email@example.com or (937) 451-3341