Cheers from the arena join sounds of engines revving, auctioneers hollering, and friends laughing. The smell of fresh funnel cakes and pork sandwiches fills the air. For one week each summer, people from all over central Ohio make their way to the Knox County Fair. Crowds gather by the thousands for evening events, such as the horse pull and monster truck derby, as well as daytime livestock and art shows. Events have changed over the years, especially at the Junior Fair; 4-H club members now compete in modern activities like rocketry in addition to the traditional livestock and sewing projects. A staple community event for more than 150 years, the fair celebrates the county, its culture, and its accomplishments.
“The kids really feel supported, especially when they’re selling their final work at the auction. They get lots of money from different companies here in the community. Some of them get their college money from doing this for years.” Jean Wyatt, former 4-H club advisor and member
“This is the biggest event in Knox County. I think it really goes back to our roots. There is something about a fair that takes people back in time.” Troy Cooper, county director, OSU Extension Office–Knox County
“There are so many things I like about the fair, but mostly it’s the people you meet. We’ll sit, play cards, and show our animals. Being at the fair, you get to talk with friends, meet friends, and be with your animals. If we’ve got pigs that are tame enough, we’ll use them as pillows and take naps.” Kirby Philips, member, Grove 4-H Club
Between rides, exhibitions, and fair food, there is something for everyone, old timers and newcomers alike. Courtesy Janis Johnson, The Artist’s Eye
Onlookers eagerly await the judge’s decision about a 4-H poultry entry. Contestants are assessed on their ability to point out key features of the animal. Last year, more than one thousand Knox County youth participated in 4-H.
Postcards were once popular fair souvenirs. Courtesy Knox County Historical Society