Last-minute preparations for the 158th Van Wert County Fair are underway. Above, the site of the former rabbit barn is pictured following the demolition of the structure. (DHI Media/Ed Gebert)
Last-minute preparations for the 158th Van Wert County Fair are underway. Above, the site of the former rabbit barn is pictured following the demolition of the structure. (DHI Media/Ed Gebert)

VAN WERT — The 158th edition of the Van Wert County Fair is less than two weeks away, and last-minute preparations are underway. Some last-minute items are already finished, like the demolition of the old rabbit barn on the fairgrounds. That classic old structure is being a replaced by a new barn constructed over the past couple of months.

Still in process is a cleanup of the trees on the grounds. According to Fair Board Director Sarah Smith, the board brought in Regional Urban Forester Stephanie Miller from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources who visited the fairgrounds to recommend a plan. Part of the plan was to remove 45-50 dead trees, most of which were ash trees. Removing the dead and dangerous trees has been a priority for the Fairboard since spring. “Miller looked at every tree on the fairground and made a recommendation. Over the next three or four years, all but about seven of the old trees will be replaced at the fairgrounds with a five to eight-year replanting plan of trees in specific locations of specific varieties that will best suit their new home at the fairgrounds.”

Anyone interested in being a part of the replanting effort at the fairgrounds should inquire at the Fair Office or vwfair@bright.net.

The first day for the fair will be Wednesday, Aug. 27, with rides starting at 3 p.m., the Opening Ceremony at 5 p.m. and harness racing at 7 p.m.



A newly-announced trio of Saturday events , The Saturday Night Triple Play, will include live country music, a hot-air balloon glow, and a calf, pig, and sheep scramble. The scrambles begin Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and require pre-registration and a signed waiver from a parent. The scramble is limited to the first 36 entrants in each age group. The sheep scramble is open to residents aged 7-10, the pig scramble group will be for ages 11-14, and the calf scramble is available for ages 15-18. The entry fee is $3 with prizes for first, second, and for individual heats.

The balloon glow will take place at dusk as hot air balloons are lighted to the delight of onlookers. Balloon rides are still available to the public throughout the fair at various launches and tethered events. For details, contact the Fair Office (419) 238-9270 to book yours today!

Rounding out the Triple Play at 9:45 pm, it’s live country music from the duo Emerald Blue. Chaney DeLong and Bree Stevens combine to bring tight harmony, soul, passion, and relatable lyrics to their music. Their single “You Can’t Hold Me Back” can be heard on youtube or on their website at http://www.emeraldbluemusic.com.