SIDNEY — The 159th Shelby County Fair officially opened Sunday with the fair being dedicated to the memory of Barb Heilers.
President Jeremy Reese told the crowd of over 100 people gathered that Heilers, who passed away in March 2018, was “lost way too early.” She was a longtime treasurer of the Shelby County Agricultural Society (fair board) for 20 years. She was also a 4-H Club adviser for 20 years, a past member of the Shelby County Park District Board, Hardin Houston track and cross country coach.
Shelby County Commissioner Julie Ehemann spoke next to welcome everyone to the Shelby County Fair and noted the 92 degree heat “could be worse,” as it was 113 degrees on the same day back in 1934.
Ehemann then took a moment to remember fair Secretary Jerry Schaffner, who passed away in March 2019.
“Jerry really dedicated himself to this fair and he will be sorely missed by all of his co-workers,” Ehemann said.
She told the crowd there will be lots to do and see and hoped people would visit several times during the week long fair.
Joe Braden, representative from the office of Ohio Auditor Keith Faber, presented a proclamation on behalf of Faber during the openeing ceremony. Faber’s office congratulated and recognized fair board members, trustees and volunteers on “their commitment to the community and the celebration of Ohio’s great agricultural heritage.”
The fair board also welcomed the 2019 Shelby County Hall of Fame recipients Maxine Allen and Joe and Karen Platfoot.
Allen, said Reese, was awarded a fair pass for serving 66 years at the fair. He said she attended the fair every day, watched her beloved 4-H Club, was an adviser for a number of clubs over the years, and planted and displayed many projects at the fair. She was a farm bureau member for 72 years, and worked as secretary for the Shelby County Soil and Water Conservation District for 32 years. Allen was instrumental for setting up the third-grade poster contest, forestry field day and the annual farm city tour, Allen said. The last few years of her life, Allen helped organize a dog obedience class at the Sidney United Methodist Church.
The second 2019 recipient is “a family, a married couple” said Reese, before naming the Platfoots. “When I say the name, you guys will immediately picture them and see them still here at the fairgrounds. A lot of our structures here at the fairgrounds are in their memory: benches, (and) namely the champion and reserved champion pictures are taken right in front of steer barn, dairy barn. Their love for Shelby County and the youth showed through everything.”
The Platfoots were members of the Senior Fair Board for over 30 years and were 4-H advisors for 20-plus years.
“He was a big guy with a big heart. It’s hard to believe it’s been that long without them,” Reese said.
Boy Scout Troop 97 raised the American flag while the Houston High School marching band performed the National Anthem.
After the opening ceremonies, the band performed in the free entertainment tent.
Rides on the midway, as well as the open feeder, calf, steer and heifer shows all started at 2 p.m. Free! Fun with Nature Crafts were held at 3 and 7 p.m.
The Little Mr. and Miss Shelby County Fair contest began at 4 p.m., followed by the Junior Fair King and Queen contest at 5 p.m. Both were held at the free entertainment tent.
The car load night, sponsored by Area Energy and Electric, was scheduled for Monday evening. The annual event was set for 4 p.m.
Ninja Warrior practice and competition is on Monday and Tuesday from 6 to 8 p.m.
Also on Monday is the annual Veterans Program, slated to begin at 7 p.m. in the free entertainment tent.
Tuesday is Senior Citizens Day sponsored by Honda of America. Registration begins Tuesday at 8 a.m. at the free entertainment tent. The Sidney Senior Center Singers will be performing at 11 a.m. Door prizes and awards to the oldest lady, gentleman and couple married the longest will be given between 11:30 a.m. and noon. A free lunch will be served to the seniors at noon.
Harness racing will begin Tuesday night at 5:30 p.m. at the grandstand. Rockland Road Family Band will be performing from 8 to 10 p.m. in the free entertainment tent.
Junior Fair shows on tap for Monday include the market rabbit show, the horse shows including showmanship, mule and donkey, trail-in-hand trail, easy-gaited, reining and Western riding. Other 4-H shows Monday include the dairy color breed show, showmanship, Holstein show and dairy judging contest. The 4-H club display and educational booth judging will also be held.
Rounding out the shows Monday are the sheep/market lamb showmanship and market lamb show.
Tuesday’s junior fair events include the dairy goat show, dairy goat showmanship, goat judging contest and goat obstacle course. There will also be the feeder calf show, swine showmanship and market cattle show. Horse shows include groom and clean, key hole, pole bending, stakes and clover leaf barrels.
Wednesday’s schedule includes Ninja Warrior practice and competition, harness racing, Free! Fun with Nature Crafts, the poultry show and showmanship, market barrow show, market gilt show, llama and alpaca show, llama and alpaca obstacle course, the horse show costume contest and beef showmanship.
The fair continues through Saturday, July 27.
Reach the writer at 937-538-4823.