Waterford Fair starts next week

It has been half a century since Waterford resident Charles Campbell first started serving on the Waterford Community Fair Board, and this year, he and his wife Mary will serve as the parade marshals in honor of their dedication.

“They picked me because I’ve been here 50 years, and I guess that’s a long time to serve,” Campbell said.

The 56th annual Waterford Community Fair kicks off next week, running Aug. 14-17, and will be packed with tractor pulls, hog shows and music that continues into Sunday evening.

For fair board treasurer Rhonda Turner, it is an annual event that brings in the whole community.

“We get a few people that come from out of the county, but those are mainly tractor pullers that bring their families,” she said. “Otherwise it’s a big thing for the close community.”

Gates open at 4 p.m. Aug. 14, with a day that includes the Beautiful Baby Contest for children ages birth to 6, followed by a tractor tug pull and garden tractor pull.

Throughout that evening, admission to all fair rides will be free for both adults and children.

“Last year was the first year we started doing that where it is free for everyone, so we’re really stressing it,” Turner said.

After Thursday, fair attendees can purchase $12 armbands in the evening to receive unlimited rides for the day and $10 armbands for afternoon riding, but the board chose to offer the rides for free on Thursday to boost attendance for families and children.

And the tractor pulls that take place Thursday, Saturday and Sunday are what fair organizers said draws the biggest crowds.

“The tractor pulls go for three nights, and those are always big, and then we have another night on (Friday) for ATVs and motorcycles,” Campbell said. “People come out of the woodwork to watch these.”

Oran Adams, who serves on the fair board, said the success of past fairs has allowed the board to keep the schedule and events relatively the same.

“There really is not much that has changed this year, and since we’ve seen success before we decided to keep everything the same,” he said.

At 6 p.m. Aug. 15 is when fair-goers will line up to watch the parade, which begins at Fort Frye High School in Beverly and makes its way south down Ohio 339 before reaching the community fairgrounds in Waterford.

“Anyone is invited to take part in the parade Friday night,” Adams said. “We don’t charge anything, you can just show up and be in it.”

Friday will also include a day full of judging for fruit, vegetable, floral and hay contests, including the popular hog judging for the Washington County 4-H and FFA students.

“We’ve got 171 hogs entered this year, and the hogs will be judged based on showmanship,” Campbell said. “It’s a big drawing card for the fair, and it’s been going on for quite a long time to let kids show off what they have.”

Also on Friday evening is the Kids Motorcycle and ATV Rodeo, which features both motorcycle and ATV classes for kids and ATV classes for adults.

Saturday kicks off with a full day of livestock shows and games.

The tractor speed pull, which features antique and mighty mac tractors, will begin at noon.

Turner said though the fair does not include as much musical entertainment as other fairs do, there is music on the schedule for Saturday.

“That night we have local band Pickin’ On Country, and they’re going to play a double feature,” she said. “It’s going to be a big music draw, so if you’re interested in music, that would be the night to come.”

And rounding off the weekend Sunday is a day full of horse shows and, to please what Campbell said always draws a large last-day crowd, the pedal tractor pull by Waterford High School FFA alumni.

“They make a lot of noise and blow a lot of smoke, and people love to see it,” he said.

The Fun Horse Shows feature tunnel races, poles, barrels and flag races and even a relay race, and kicks off at 10 a.m.

Races are open for children 10 years and under all the way up to adults, and entry into the races costs $2 per class.

Single admission for the fair costs $5, and children under the age of 12 are admitted free of charge.