Marion County Fair
Celebrating Its 167th Anniversary!
This year the Marion County Fair celebrates its 167th year anniversary. What started as an agricultural exhibit sanctioned by the Ohio General Assembly in 1851 has transformed into the largest annual community event. Growing every year, the 2017 fair features six days of entertainment, shows, contests, rides, 4-H activities, and more.
Expanding and modernizing the fairgrounds has been a long road. In 1868, the county commissioners purchased a 26- acre plot of land to host the fair. Today, the Marion County Fair, as well as the fairboard and veterans services offi ces, are still located on those grounds purchased for $12,200. Fast forward to the 1940s, our country faced economic changes, as well as the challenges of war. Recognizing the impact of WWII on the community, a new tax levy was placed on the 1946 ballot to raise funds to construct the Veterans Memorial Coliseum to honor the returning veterans. The $100,000 fi ve-year tax levy passed, and the Coliseum began construction in 1949, and was completed in 1950. A recent levy helped update and renovate the coliseum to what you see today.
The history of the Fair and the Coliseum is long and storied, but one thing is constant. Marion Fair Week is heavily dependent on the elements, and making 80% of the yearly budget in one week can be a great challenge. Lifelong Marion residents may remember the devastating 1978 fi re that burned the livestock barn. The $90,000 replacement show arena was built in 1979 and named after Charlie Evers– a local radio personality that headed the campaign to raise funds for the new arena. In 1987, Marion received a record amount of rainfall. The racetrack fl ooded, and parts of the fair had to be cancelled. In spite of the challenges, the Fair has persevered for 167 years.
Fair Manager Candy Tripp is excited about the 2017 fair, “For us to be celebrating 167 years is a testament to Marion County and support of the fair. From our sponsors, volunteers, visitors, to our vendors, it takes everyone to put together a great fair.”
Sec/Treas Cindy Wood and Candy Tripp
This years fair features the return of Harness Racing after a several year absence. There will also be many town favorites such as the Demolition Derby, Tractor Pulls & live entertainment…and don’t forget everyone’s favorite fair food!
Thoughts of the fair bring fond memories, for some it’s the animals, for many the rides and entertainment and for others it’s the fireworks. Candy’s thoughts turn to memories with her family,
“I grew up coming to the fair every summer as a child, my daughters grew up at the fair, and now my grandchildren are coming. Many of our summer memories center around the fair, fireworks and the 4th of July. It is more than just an event to us, it is part of who we are.”
Behind the scenes however, there is a changing of the guard this year as fairgrounds manager Candy Tripp will be retiring in the coming months. Cindy Wood has been hired as her replacement. Fair Board President Keith Seckel reflects on the changing leadership,
“Candy has been a pillar of strength and leadership at the Marion County Fairgrounds for the last 25+ years. The fair board wants to thank Candy for all of her hard work and many accomplishments.”
The Marion County Fair is a community event for the people, put together by its very best residents. You can enjoy the 2017 Marion County Fair from July 3-8. For event calendars, information, and more, visit www.veteransmemorialcoliseum. org or call 740-382-2558. The fairgrounds are located at 220 East Fairground Street in Marion, OH 43302.