Muskingum County Fair kicks off Sunday, starting with ‘clean slate’


By Nick McWilliams, Sports Director

It’s fair time around the state once again.

And in Muskingum County, the 172nd edition of the Blue Ribbon Fair promises to bring plenty of attractions for all. From this year’s concert consisting of two names of country artists many should be familiar with, to the standard animal judging, all week promises something for everyone’s interests.

While two years of poor weather and financial struggles cast some doubt and brought skepticism to the long-running event, David Kreis, treasurer of the board, foreshadowed some changes that he thinks will help steer the ship in the right direction.

Turning the tide

Turning a profit has never been an easy task for any fair around the state or the country, but circumstances beyond the control of any member of the fair board kept things in the red for the last two years.

For Kreis, it was bad enough the fair could not bring in many patrons due to inclement weather. Add onto that fact funding to even keep the electric was at a dearth and the situation was all the more bleak.

However, the fair pushed through, thanks to some assistance from a few long-time backers.

“You get through the year and you have all your bills paid, you’ve had a successful year. The last two years, we were met with some severe, heavy rains. That kept the crowds away and got us a little bit behind,” Kreis said. “In the background of our fairground, there’s several business people that help us and support us in a lot of ways and they stepped up and helped us get through this time.”

But, it’s time to start anew.

Kreis said the board has brought a new focus to the financial structure of the Muskingum County Fair, reevaluating how the annual event brings in money.

“So this year, we’re starting with a clean slate, basically. (We) want to start over and hopefully everything will work out better this time around,” he said. “We’ve made a lot of changes, we’ve renegotiated a lot of contracts, we’ve increased some fees, we’re charging for parking this year that we haven’t been for several years. So, we’re looking for ways to increase revenues.”

In addition to parking charges (of $5 per vehicle) and the contract negotiations, the fair implemented new events prior to the yearly, week-long event to bring in more cash. It’s all a part of the combined effort by all involved to keep the almost two-century old tradition alive.

“We’re trying everything we can to make this work,” Kreis said.

This year’s events

Running from Aug. 12-18, the fair’s headline attraction is musical act Montgomery Gentry, with special guest Jo Dee Messina on Friday at 8 p.m.

Starting on Sunday morning, the fairgrounds will open at 8 a.m., with rides getting underway at 2 p.m. before the National Tractor Pullers Association Truck & Tractor Pull kicks off at 7:30 p.m. Grandstand seating is free, with track seats available for $5.

Other attractions include Tuesday night’s demolition derby at 8 p.m., Wednesday’s Rough Truck competition and Thursday’s bull riding and girls barrel racing.

All tickets for ages five and over are $5, while a season pass of seven tickets can be purchased for $30. A four-day pass costs $15, with parking costs at $5 per car.

Ride tickets are $1 each, 12 for $10 or an all-day wristband for $15.

A full list of events can be found at