When the 164th annual Fulton County Fair opens Friday, Sept. 3, attendees will get a chance to see some changes to the fairgrounds.
The biggest change is the addition of a new $300,000 administration building, located north of the grandstand.
Dennis Wyse, Fair Board president, said the new building is on ground formerly occupied by the old merchants building.
The wood-frame building, built on a slab foundation, will house ticket windows and administrative offices, including secretary and treasurer offices, plus a new boardroom.
The cost of the building project was covered by cashon hand, Wyse said.
“We had such an exceptional year in ‘19, we could absorb the cost,” he said.
The fair board was making due in offices under the grandstand.
But, the secretary’s office was upstairs, which resulted in problems with the Americans with Disabilities Act, or ADA.
“Now it’s all on one level,” Wyse said.
The old office spaces were crowded, and security wasn’t that great, he added.
The old merchants building was moved near the horse arena, where it was repurposed to become horse stalls.
The old offices under the grandstand will continue to be used by midway vendors. During the off-season, they can be used as offices for other groups that use the fairgrounds.
When asked about preparations for the 2021 fair, Wyse said things are “moving right along, full steam ahead.”
Wyse said other fairs around Ohio are breaking attendance records in 2021, after many were limited in 2020 because of the Coronavirus pandemic.
Last year, the Fulton County Fair was limited to just junior fair events.
Prior to 2019, the record for Fulton County Fair attendance was 298,346, set in 2013.
Wyse said results from the 2019 fair shattered that previous record, when 340,594 entered the turnstiles.
It was the first time attendance topped 300,000.
If the weather cooperates, including sunshine and cool temperatures, “We can do it (break the attendance record),” Wyse said.
After staying at home so much during the pandemic, Wyse said people are ready to “get out and do something.”