Fairgrounds busy all year round

LISBON – The fairgrounds are obviously used for the fair every year, but the grounds can also be used for a multitude of other things.

Many people don’t realize the fairgrounds can be used for the public after the fair is over, said Tresa Unkefer, secretary of the fair board.

“The grounds are beautiful and the buildings are available during the year,” she said. “You can rent out the buildings, and people are here every day walking.”

John Wolf, concession manager of the board, said his stepdaughter was married on the grounds in June – both the wedding and reception took place there.

He said she and her husband both are outdoor people and wanted an outside wedding, and they loved the old building appeal.

Wolf said pictures can be seen on the Columbiana County Facebook page.

“Any and all of the grounds are available for a multitude of uses,” Wolf said. “Any building can be up for negotiation, some are more versatile for use than others.”

For example, the animal barns are more restrictive for use but buildings like the Arts and Crafts building are more versatile.

Wolf said the board has made major strides in upgrading the facilities and keeping up with the grounds.

“[The board] is always doing upgrades to make the grounds better for the community,” he said. “They work

hard improving the grounds.”

Wolf said the grounds have been used for a variety of things, including a circus in the spring, Whitestone Ministries used it for a benefit auction, the East Liverpool Chamber of Commerce used the field inside the track for a rib festival, and auctioneers use the buildings for a central location for their auctions.

Right now, Wolf said there is a group planning a mud run on the grounds for 2014.

The grounds are open to the public, except for the week of the fair. Wolf said he sees people walking their dogs or running or walking the track and midways.

“It’s becoming like a park setting,” he said.

The buildings or grounds can be rented for either personal or commercial use, and the prices vary depending on the use. For example, the old government building can be rented for about $250-$350.

“We try to keep all costs reasonable,” Wolf said. “We want to see the grounds used more and more and want to invite everybody in.”

Wolf said there is usually a standard cost quote, and the board created a separate price list for non-profit organizations as well because the board doesn’t want to fiscally hurt them. If a non-profit is seeking to rent, the board can have a meeting to discuss as a whole to work out a price.

“We don’t want to push anyone away,” Wolf said.

Wolf said he thinks the grounds are a unique place to rent because of their history.

“It’s been here forever,” he said. “It has a lot of history … people from the area have a lot of ties with it.”

The best way to rent a part of the fairgrounds is to call the office at 330-424-5531 and express interest.