Our hearts and prayers go out to the families and friends impacted by the tragic accident resulting from the malfunction of the Fireball ride on opening day July 26th at the Ohio State Fair. We cannot begin to imagine the horrible pain both physically and emotionally the victims and their families are suffering, and will continue to suffer for years to come. Governor John Kasich rightfully described in a press conference, that this year’s opening day was the darkest in our State Fair’s history.
This accident will certainly deter some from visiting this year’s Ohio State Fair. Many headlines and stories will focus on the tragedy and investigation. In no way do I want to minimize the pain and suffering that so many are experiencing from this tragedy or criticize the media for covering this story extensively - however, I do want to take this moment to share and highlight some of the good news and positive things that are happening at this year’s Fair. Perhaps these may serve as a small reminder that despite this horrible accident, the fair is still a place that honors and showcases our youth and brings Ohioans from all over the state together in an annual celebration of education, competitions, food and entertainment.
Wayne County 4-H is well represented at this year’s Ohio State Fair in many ways. We have several dozen youth participating in Jr. and Open Livestock Shows and numerous youth that have qualified at the county level to represent 4-H in still project judging at the State Fair. Our youth have worked hard all year on their projects and with their livestock to prepare for the State Fair. There are youth participating in all types of projects ranging from clothing and textiles to food science, creative arts, photography, robotics, woodworking, and much more.
On the livestock side we are represented in all of the major livestock shows including Beef, Dairy, Goats, Horses, Poultry, Rabbits, Sheep, Swine, and more. In fact, as I’m writing this article we’ve just learned that Abbey Werstler, a 2017 graduate of Triway High School received Reserve Grand Champion Senior Trail in the Jr. Horse Show. David Miley, of Northwestern high school won the overall dairy skillathon award.
We are also excited to share that one of our Wayne County 4-H teen leaders – Mack Donley, also a 2017 graduate of Triway High School, is serving the first year of a two-year term on the Ohio State Fair State Junior Fair Board. Donley was selected for this honor from thousands of applicants and completed a rigorous application and interview process earlier this year.
The Ohio State Fair runs through Sunday August 6th. There are numerous livestock shows and 4-H project judging events, exhibits, concerts, and of course an amazing selection of food each and every day at the fair. So if you haven’t made a trip to the State Fair yet this year, there is so much to do and see just in the area of positive youth development, that even if you don’t feel comfortable going near the rides, the trip is well worth the time to drive to Columbus to support our youth. You may also view results from the many livestock shows and competitions, and learn about area youth, and how well they have done at this year’s fair, by going to the Ohio State Fair website, www.ohiostatefair.com and clicking on competitions.