SIDNEY — The Shelby County Agricultural Society has developed the Shelby County Fair Hall of Fame.
Induction is an honor bestowed on individuals or couples who have had a significant impact on the fair. The inaugural indutees were announced during opening ceremonies of the 2018 fair, Sunday, July 22. They are John “Red” Elson, Annette and Jim Fiebiger, Don Knasel and Kenneth E. Knoop. All are deceased.
The idea for a hall of fame grew out of the fair board’s annual nominations for recognition as Outstanding Fair Supporter at the fair managers’ convention.
“Every fair board president and secretary attends,” said Shelby County Secretary Jerry Schaffner. At a luncheon, nominees are honored, but only individuals can be nominated. The Shelby County fair board had wanted to nominate a couple. That led to discussions locally about how to recognize more than one individual.
Photos of the 2018 Shelby County Fair Hall of Fame members were published in the fair book which is distributed to all exhibitors at the fair.
Schaffner said that in order to include them in the book, selections had to be made in a hurry. Therefore, this year, there was no formal nominating process. Schaffner, who has served on the board for 31 years, knew who the first inductees should be. They all left a big mark on the fair.
The Fiebigers, as individuals and through their business, Fiebiger’s Inc., were the first sponsors of the free entertainment tent.
“They were always willing to step up in equipment, financial (support), sponsorships,” said fair board member Jeremy Reese.
“Red Elson was the second of the first original sponsors of the free entertainment tent,” Reese said. In 1982, he also donated a new Ford pick-up truck to be raffled at the fair.
“He was adamant for a family-oriented fair,” Reese said.
Knoop served on the fair board for three decades and was instrumental in starting the gallon of milk sales program at the fair. He was a 4-H adviser and exhibitor of Jersey dairy cattle. As a 4-H member and later, as an adult, he exhibited at the fair for 83 years.
Knasel also supported the free entertainment tent. As a founding member of the Shelby County Antique Power Association, he organized exhibits of heritage equipment at the fair. He purchased many an animal in the junior and senior livestock auctions.
In future years, the number of inductees will probably be limited to one per year, Schaffner said. Nominations can be made at the fair by filling out a brief form at the Sidney Daily News booth in the Merchants Hall.
“We may run nominations on the website after the fair up until the annual meeting (of the fair board),”
Schaffner said. “The Hall of Fame is something that recognizes people who helped build the fair into what it is today.”
Shelby County 4-H Hall of Fame
Not be confused with the newly created Shelby County Fair Hall of Fame, the Shelby County 4-H Hall of Fame has existed since 2010
Inductees are named at the fair during the king and queen contest. The announcements are always a surprise.
This year’s inductees were the late Joe Platfoot, Jerry and the late Pat Schaffner and Keith Motter.
“Joe had a significant impact on Shelby County youth and the 4-H program by providing leadership and guidance in youth development while supporting the cattle program here in Shelby County,” said Breezy Yinger in telling the audience why this group was selected. “Joe and his wife, Karen, were 4-H advisers for the Maplewood Livestock 4-H club for over 20 years. As an adviser to the Junior Fair Board, Joe was able to provide guidance and leadership to the membership when creating fair rules and handling various decisions that came before the board. He would often offer input to ensure that all points to a decision were discussed and was fair to every Junior Fair exhibitor.”
The Schaffners have helped the 4-H program through their work as Senior Fair Board secretaries.
“Pat was the Shelby County Fair secretary in 1986-87, and then Jerry assumed the secretary role the following year in 1987, and has held that position until present. As secretary, they take care of all the contracts for concessions and books, oversee the book and state requirements,” Yinger said. “Pat loved attending her flower garden, crocheting, singing and attending the Shelby County Fair. Jerry has been involved with the fair for most of his life and was the founding member of the Shelby County Rabbit Breeders. Jerry was recognized by the Greater Ohio Showman’s Association in 2013 and received ‘Secretary of the Year.’ In 2018 received the President’s Award by the Buckeye Farm Antiques.”
Motter and Jerry Schaffner graduated together from Hardin-Houston High School and served in each other’s weddings.
Motter was honored for as a “behind the scenes selfless giver of time, talent and treasure,” Yinger said. “Keith has helped run many of the Junior Fair shows during the Shelby County Fair and has assisted in the weigh-in of all market hogs for numerous years. Keith has also helped with the 4-H youth in the swine department for the state fair for many years.
This year’s inductees join previous 4-H Hall of Fame members Maxine Allen, Lee Archer, Lloyd Lutz, Barbara Ditmer, Marvin Ditmer, Wauneta Helman, Wilson Lochard, Kenny Knoop, Tom Archer and Roger Liess, Trena Harshberger and Barb Heilers.
Reach the writer at 937-538-4824.