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One of the first fairs in Ohio is underway in Putnam County

Most fairs were canceled or saw major changes last year because of the pandemic
Updated: Jun. 21, 2021 at 6:54 PM EDT
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - County Fairs are a time-honored tradition here in Ohio, and a sure sign of summer. But the pandemic forced most fairs to cancel or make major changes last year. So, the fact that the Putnam County Fair is now underway is welcome news to a lot of people.

The fair has been held in Ottawa for more than 150 years. 2020 was the first year since 1855 that a full fair was not held, so this year is special.

The fair is a family affair for Mark Hoormann. Three of his four daughters are showing here this year.

“It’s a lot of work, and not a lot of reward, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world to work with my kids in this kind of an environment. We all love it.”

This is the last year Kaleb Gillespie is able to compete at the fair, so he was excited when he heard the full fair was a go this year.

“Around here we teach hard work and determination. You have to put in a lot of work to be competitive. it’s great to see everyone back at the fair, every barn is packed full of kids exhibiting animals. It’s great to see.”

One of Brooke Tucker’s favorite things about fair is riding her horse Max.

“Honestly I love everything here, but my favorite part is showing. I am also so hapy to see freinds I didn’t get to see last year.”

While the animal competitions are a big draw, there are plenty of other activities. 7-year-old Kamdon Warnecke is glad to be able to be back with his friends at the fair.

“My favorite thing to do here is ride the rides. I also like seeing my friends.”

Hoorman says tucked in with all the fun, are some important lessons.

“Sports are great but the kids working on projects at the fair, competing one on one. They put in a lot of hard work. They learn leadership and to work with other people. It’s okay to get second place and cheer on your friends for the win.”

The goal of everyone who’s part of putting the fair together is making the fair is part of this community for another century.

Nathan Meyer is President of the Putnam County Fair Board.

“My father competed here. My brother, sister and I all showed here. So being part of making sure it keeps going for the kids and future generations, is important to me.”

If you’d like to visit the Putnam County Fair, it runs through Saturday in Ottawa.

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