New grandstand, renovated goat barn ready to go

LISBON – Two structures that received the most attention at the Columbiana County Fairgrounds this year are now ready for everyone to see.

The finishing touches on the new grandstand and junior fair goat barn have been completed, and are now on display at the 169th Columbiana County Fair.

“It’s a tremendous opportunity for us to use this for the fair,” Steve Knizat, vice president of the fair board, said.

The new metal grandstand, which serves as the centerpiece for the fair and the main venue for events like the demolition derby, truck-and-tractor pulls and several concerts, not only replaces the wooden grandstand which stood for nearly 160 years before it was torn down in December, but also increases in size, comfort, quality and safety.

“Everyone hated to see it go,” board president John Wolf said. “But we had to create a safe and secure environment for everyone, and now we’ve got a nice new venue to do that.”

Among the features to the new grandstand include an increased capacity of 2,500, larger leg room for attendees, and handicap accessibility. The grandstand also includes new lighting and a state-of-the-art sound system, which will be fine-tuned by Pro Audio Innovations of Canton, who installed the systems.

“It’s time to take our sound system into the 21st century,” Wolf said.

Meanwhile, due northeast of the grandstand is the newly renovated junior fair goat barn, another project approved and funded by the fair board.

The barn features a brand new 200-foot roof, fresh paint, new lumber for the loft, and brand new doors for the stalls, which according to goat committee chairman Carol Mellott, will help the safety of the many pygmy goats after being stuck in the old doors, which were small metal doors with bars.

“The pygmy goats had a tendency to get their horns and heads stuck in the old doors,” Mellott said. “There’s nothing worse than a goat getting its head stuck.”

Members of the goat committee and junior fair donated their time to help with the renovation of the barn. The barn was painted courtesy of paint donated by Hanoverton Hardware and Ace Hardware of Columbiana and New Middletown, and board member Dennis Flugan noted the hard work just to fix the roof.

“There were about 19 people who took the roof off,” Flugan said. “They did a wonderful job.”

In the case of both projects, the fair members have been very appreciative of everyone who has helped whether with manpower or donations.

“All of the moms and dads have helped us out, and we have a really great group of people,” Mellott said.

Donations to help pay for the grandstand are still being accepted, and more information is available at the fair’s website,