The Great Geauga County Fair is upon us. It’s that time of year when people will be able to smell the sweet scent of elephant ears and fried cheese on a stick as well as enjoy activities including grandstand shows and barnyard animals.
As the fairgrounds in Burton come alive for the 199th fair today, organizers say this year’s event will include amusement rides, a demolition derby, live horse race betting, a country music show, and a variety of live entertainment shows.
The fair began Thursday and runs through Monday.
Fair Director Paul Harris said that organizers have been working diligently.
“There’s no doubt about it, we always do every year, but you know it’s going to come and go whether we’re ready or we aren’t,” Mr. Harris said. “But for the most part, things are coming together.”
The full fair is welcomed by organizers and residents after last year’s statewide limit to a junior fair due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Each year, the fair offers a chance for young people to show off the countless hours they put into their 4-H projects ranging from raising animals to designing clothes. The fair also showcases the county’s farming heritage, baking finesse, photography skills and culinary expertise of local residents.
This year’s events include harness racing at 5:30 p.m. on Friday and the country music singer Chris Higbee at 8 p.m., the demolition derby on Saturday at 8 p.m., truck and tractor pull on Sunday at 6:30 p.m. and on Labor Day Monday, the Broken Horn Rodeo at 3 p.m.
“The grandstand is packed again,” Mr. Harris said. “We’ve got four nights of shows.”
Thursday’s drag racing was a bit different, he said, because just about any vehicle qualified from motorcycles to snowmobiles.
“Our harness racing has typically been on Saturday afternoon, we’ve moved that to a twilight race so it’s going to start at 5:30 [p.m.] Friday night in the grandstands,” said Mr. Harris. “By switching the day, we were able to bring back parimutuel betting so you’ll actually be able to come and parlay your college fund into retirement funds.”
On the Midway, fairgoers can enjoy the B & B Magic Show on the Troy Trail Stage and the Sea Lion Splash show on Midway Stage 1.
“The sea lions splash show is obviously a first-timer this year. If you remember the old days of Sea World over in Aurora, the sea lion show is going to be similar to that,” said Mr. Harris. “They’re moving in down here on the lower midway, 11,000 gallons of water it takes to fill their tanks, and they’ll be performing every day.”
Mr. Harris also said that Circus Incredible being performed by the Wallenda Family, trapeze artist and highwire acts will also be featured.
“The shows will alternate so one will end, and then an hour break, and then the next one will start,” said Mr. Harris.
The fair is also an excellent venue that connects the past with the present offering something for everyone like the Chardon Polka Band, pony pulling contest, youth fishing in the natural resource area and the rooster crowing contest.
A new online system is being implemented this year for ticket sales to help cut down the line at the gates. People can purchase the tickets online and download the ticket to their phone or print the ticket at home and come right through the gates after the ticket is scanned.
No fair would be complete without hearing a performance by the Great Geauga County Fair Band in the Vernon Howard Pavilion each day through Sunday at 10:30 a.m. and 7:30 p.m., and Monday 1:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m.
Mr. Harris stated that plans are already being done for the 200th Anniversary of the Great Geauga County Fair.
“We started planning for it because next year is our anniversary year, next year the fair will be 200 years old,” said Mr. Harris. “Those plans have been in place for several years, we have added a day to the fair for next year so next year.”