Filling the shoes of Carl Buehrer– the Fulton County Fair Board president who retired last November after 40 years in office– is a daunting task.
And no one knows that better than Dennis Wyse, the man who’s been elected to fill them.
“Carl and those other guys who retired recently– they put the Fulton County Fair on top,” stated Wyse, a 60-year-old farmer from Wauseon.
“I can’t say enough about what they’ve done. I admire them. Their dedication is going to be missed– greatly– because they lived the fair.”
In his own way, so has Dennis.
A Family Tradition
“I always wanted to be a part of the fair, even when I was a little kid,” he said.
“I remember when I was four or five, coming to the Fair with my family and grandma on Labor Day and having a picnic on the southeast corner of the race track under the trees.
“It was a family tradition to come to the fair. The Fulton County Fair gets in your blood and sticks with you.”
As a youngster, Dennis was in 4-H for nine years and showed swine and steers at the fair.
In his senior year of high school, he was asked to take over as advisor of the Clinton Doodlebugs 4-H club after the adult advisors resigned, and continued as the club advisor into his 20s.
Later, his own kids joined 4-H and took part in the fair, and Dennis became a 4-H advisor once again, rounding out his total years as an advisor at 11 years.
In addition, the business he co-owned for many years, Fraker and Wyse Construction Company, built or renovated several buildings on the fairgrounds, including the poultry barn.
Recruited To Serve
Dennis’s interest in the fair did not go unnoticed.
“In August 1992, Vernon Mull asked me to run for Fair Board,” Dennis said.
“But my kids were in their second year of 4-H and I didn’t want to lose that time with them.
“I told Vernon I couldn’t run then, but I would down the road. In the meantime, I always helped out with the fair.”
In 2010, Dennis, who is from York Township, finally ran for Fair Board and was elected as a member-atlarge.
Although he’d been around the fair all his life, once on board he was surprised by the amount of work and number of volunteers it takes to stage the fair each year.
“It’s just amazing how many people who aren’t on the board put in hours at the fairgrounds,” Dennis said.
“We have 15 board members, a secretary, and a treasurer, but that’s not nearly enough people, so we need all those volunteers. I hope that never ends.”
“The Fair Board is in ‘stabilize mode’ right now because so many of us are fairly new,” he said.
“In the last three years, new people have been elected to eight out of 15 board seats, and we’ve got a new treasurer and Fair Board secretary.
“When the people who’d held those positions retired, we lost well over 200 years in experience, so there’s a lot of lost wisdom and experience there.
“But many of the older guys who’ve retired are helping out, and I see the new guys stepping up, catching on, and taking hold.
“Once we stabilize, we need to keep things moving forward, to build on the fair those older guys built. They left us a great fair.”
A lifelong resident of Wauseon,
Dennis has been a York Township trustee for 20 years and is in his second year as president of the Fulton County Township Association.
He has served on the Fulton County Regional Planning
Commission for 15 years and is in his third year on the Fulton County Emergency Management Agency.
Dennis and his wife, Tina, have three adult children and three grandchildren.