LISBON - The 168th Columbiana County Fair kicked off on a "picture perfect evening" celebrating "the greatest tradition in the county's history, said past fair board president Don Humphrey Jr. who narrated opening ceremonies Monday.
The Murray Family Stage was crowded with fair board members and distinguished guests as opening ceremonies began.
"We have a great fair in store for you," Humphrey said.
Practicing her rock climbing on the opening day of the Columbiana County Fair is Ralee Shaffer, 7, of Columbiana. (Salem News photo by Wayne Maris)
The ceremony began with the raising of the Ohio and Columbiana County flags to honor not only America, but the men and women who serve protecting our freedoms and security, he said.
Some of the distinguished guests at the ceremony included Juvenile Probation Judge Tom Baronzzi, County Recorder Theresa Bosel, Common Pleas Judge Scott Washam, Sheriff Ray Stone, County Auditor Nancy Milliken, Municipal Court Judge Carol Ann Robb, and county commissioners Mike Halleck, Jim Hoppel and Tim Weigle.
Humphrey welcomed Halleck, Hoppel and Weigle to the podium for a presentation.
Halleck began talking about the history of the Grandstand and how many parts of it have been around for over 100 years.
He said it was time to come together as part of the fair family and, with a consultation with the county auditor, the board of commissioners wanted to present a gift to the fair board.
Halleck called on Sharen Cope, president of the fair board, to receive a gift of $20,000 to contribute to a fund in order to replace the Grandstand.
"This is wonderful," Cope said. "We appreciate your support ... it's a great start and will give the fund a good bump."
Continuing with the ceremony, Humphrey introduced Assistant Director of the Ohio Department of Agriculture Howard Wise and Chief Ride Inspector of the Ohio Department of Agriculture Amusement Ride Safety Division Michael Vartorella who wanted to honor two families in the county.
Wise spoke of a program started in 1993 to honor families who maintained farming operations in the same family for at least 100 years. In 2012, the program was changed to Ohio's Century and Bicentennial Farm program to also honor families who have maintained farming in the same family for at least 200 years.
In the state, there are currently 64 bicentennial farms. Wise said Columbiana County has 1,056 farms with around 131,000 acres of farmland.
Wise honored two families with bicentennial recognition: the Bowman family and the Hively family.
The Bowman family was not able to make the ceremony, but he said their farm has been active since 1811.
The Hively family was presented with an award honoring the family and their farm which has been active since 1807. John Hively, a sixth generation owner, and his wife, Karen, accepted the award with their family.
"Thank you very much for a great honor," Hively said.
The ceremony continued with the annual ribbon cutting.
After the ribbon cutting, the royal parade began, presenting the junior fair board, goat ambassadors, the Mahoning County 4-H king and queen, draft horse queen, Little Miss Apple Blossom and Little Apple Bud, the Johnny Appleseed queen, Mahoning County junior and senior dairy princesses, the Columbiana County dairy princess, the Cowboy Up Rodeo queen, and the 2013 saddle horse princess and horseman and also featured a new Turkey Representative Court, the 2013 Sheep and Wool ambassador court and the 2013 4-H Royal court.
The 2012 king and queen, Abram Zehentbauer and Haley Drake, presented the crowns to the new king and queen and were awarded with $500 scholarships for being last year's king and queen.
Dr. Doug Wiley of the Lisbon Vet Clinic also presented Drake with a $500 scholarship, noting the clinic provides a scholarship to a graduating senior every year.
The Columbiana County Fair's new 4-H king and queen are Curtis Veiock and Melinda Richey.
The fair board also recognized two outstanding junior fair board members, Hannah Jarvis and Curtis Veiock with two checks.
"They have been awesome," Cope said.
It was also noted that Cope made all of the sashes for the various crownings this year.
Humphrey ended the ceremony by speaking of the free entertainment in the Grandstand this year, including "Arrival - the Journey tribute," and Zach Paxson and Jeremy Miller, as well as the tractor pulls that were starting at the conclusion of the ceremony.
"Tractors will roar to life, and we've got a great fair in store for you," Humphrey said. "Let the 2013 Columbiana County fair begin."