168th Columbiana Fair kicks off next week

LISBON – The 168th annual Columbiana County Fair begins the week of July 29 and new as well as old features will arrive in the county, said Tresa Unkefer, secretary of the Fair Board.

“There is such a tradition of events that have been going on since the beginning,” she said. “The harness racing is one of the biggest.”

Old photos from the 1800s hanging in the fair office show families gathered around the arena under the shade trees picnicking watching the races, she said.

Some past events will be returning such as the combine demolition derby, the truck and tractor pulls, and Zach Paxson will be returning this year for a concert in the Grandstand.

New events are also arriving such as magician and balloon artist Dennis Regling, “Arrival,” a Journey tribute band, and the high school Strongman competition.

Also new will be a ticket booth at Gate A, donated by Salem Structures.

“The old ticket booth will be moving to Gate B,” Unkefer said. “The whole front area in front of Gate A has been spruced up.”

In addition to the new ticket booth, the “old government building” is being renovated and a new livestock sales office was donated.

The money for renovation and costs for upkeep come entirely from donations and money generated from ticket sales, Unkefer said.

“People in this community are so generous,” she said. “I’m amazed at the amount of people who want to see it grow and be good for the next generation.”

The fair is completely non-profit and all the money generated from sales goes to operating costs for general utilities such as electric and insurance, and Unkefer said it is a challenge to keep things going and have leftovers for extra needs like renovations and improvements.

“The fair board works all year either planning things or working to keep making the fair better,” Unkefer said. “They volunteer their time for this.”

She said the board volunteers their time to renovations and improvements to “get people to come out and enjoy it, and show our support for 4-H.”

Another new feature will be the closing of Saltwell Road during fair week.

“The road is dangerous during the week of the fair and I’m glad [it’s closing] for safety,” Unkefer said. “Educating the public for an accurate traffic flow will be a continuing work in progress.”