Miami County Fair wraps up 172nd year


By Aimee Hancock - Miami Valley Today



Mike Ullery | Miami Valley Today file photo Wyatt Hill, 3, of Piqua keeps his eye on the judge as he participates in PeeWee Swine Showmanship on Saturday.

Mike Ullery | Miami Valley Today file photo Wyatt Hill, 3, of Piqua keeps his eye on the judge as he participates in PeeWee Swine Showmanship on Saturday.


TROY — The 2019 Miami County Fair has come to a close after drawing bigger crowds than the previous two years.

According to Nick Shellenberger, Miami County Ag. Society president and acting fair manager, this year’s attendance was up 7 percent compared to last year.

“Of course the weather was in our favor this year, and we seemed to have larger crowds on the midway at night than we have been having,” Shellenberger said. “Overall, I think we had a really good fair.”

Shellenberger noted that with all of the entertainment and attractions, the fair board will consider a restructure of the schedule to better suit patrons who wish to get the most out of the fair.

“Finding the right schedule for all the events (is tough),” he said. “There’s going to have to be some adjustments for next year; there was so much going on, there wasn’t enough time in between some stuff.”

Despite the short intervals between shows and events, Shellenberger said this year’s activities, including the Demolition Derby, the horse show, and cheerleading competition, were all well-attended.

With regard to the malfunction of a children’s coaster ride, the “Dragon Wagon,” on the midway over the weekend, Shellenberger said safety protocol was followed and the ride, which is owned by Burton Brothers Amusements, will be examined closely by its operators.

“Burton Brothers does have a very high standard for safety (and) will be taking that ride back to their shop for intense maintenance and inspections,” he said.

Shellenberger also reflected on his first year as fair manager.

“It was different to be overseeing all committees and not just digging in specific areas,” he said. “It was a change to try to assist and help manage the entire fair instead of just getting up, going out, and working.”

It was also fair secretary Julie Millhouse’s first year in her new position. Millhouse said she felt prepared for her role as secretary thanks in part to her familiarity to the fair itself.

“I knew what to expect because I’ve grown up here and watched my mom in the same situation,” she said.

Millhouse’s mother, Pat Hiegel, was one of the first two women to be elected to the fair board and served as treasurer for the Miami County Ag. Society for 18 years.

“It’s a lot of long hours,” Millhouse said of fair week. “I don’t think people understand just how hard it is to pull something this size off, but I think it went off very well.”

During fair week, Millhouse said her average work day commenced at 7:30 a.m. and ended around midnight.

“I coordinated the office and the contracts and things like that, then if there was something on the ground that needed attention, Shellenberger fills that role and actually goes out and manages the grounds,” she said.

While Shellenberger and Millhouse serve as a “co-team,” organizing the fair from both behind the scenes and on the front lines, Millhouse noted the importance of volunteers, as well.

“It takes a team; we have 24 board members, and they are all volunteers,” she said. “They do not make any money doing this; they just volunteer their time, and they put in the same amount of hours. Without them, and without our sponsors, there wouldn’t be a fair.

“I’ll be tired for awhile,” she continued. “But we’ll bounce right back and come back to do it again next year if they’ll keep me!”

Mike Ullery | Miami Valley Today file photo Wyatt Hill, 3, of Piqua keeps his eye on the judge as he participates in PeeWee Swine Showmanship on Saturday.
https://www.tdn-net.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/21/2019/08/web1_081019_fair_peeweeshowman-1.jpgMike Ullery | Miami Valley Today file photo Wyatt Hill, 3, of Piqua keeps his eye on the judge as he participates in PeeWee Swine Showmanship on Saturday.

By Aimee Hancock

Miami Valley Today

Reach the writer at ahancock@aimmediamidwest.com.

Reach the writer at ahancock@aimmediamidwest.com.