Donations to help erect grandstands at fairgrounds

LISBON – The Columbiana County Fair Board has received two $50,000 gifts from two area families, the Richard F. Wilk Jr. family and the Zehentbauers of Hanover Farms.

The Wilk family gift will create a Winner’s Circle, where winners of any competition will come to be photographed and recognized in a consistent backdrop.

“My family has been blessed in many ways, and we are thrilled to be in a position to support the Columbiana County Fair,” said Dick Wilk.

Wilk, a lifelong resident of Columbiana County, founded Specialty Ceramics Inc. and Refractory Specialties Inc. in the early 1990s. Both companies were sold in 2011, but Wilk still manages both companies.

Members of the Neil and Richard Zehentbauer families decided to name the 240-square-foot press box that will sit atop the new grandstand. The family, like others in the county, grew up attending and participating at the fair.

“We have worked hard and been fortunate as a family, so we loved the idea of helping the fair achieve their goal of having the grandstand up in time for this year’s fair,” said Richard Zehentbauer.

On Dec. 14, 2013, the aging grandstand was torn down to begin construction on the new 2,500-seat grandstand.

“The new grandstand will allow us to think outside of the traditional box when it comes to entertainment and other activities, even outside of fair week,” said John Wolf, board president.

Fair board members are hoping the community will continue to step forward with many more gifts, big or small, to help reach its $900,000 goal.

“The donations have ranged from $20 to $300,000. We are so grateful for the support, and we are in need of them all,” reported Tresa Unkefer, board secretary.

For information, call the fair office at 330-424-5531.