Butler County Fair kicks off 168th year with old traditions, added vendors

Butler County Connect staff report

HAMILTON, Ohio — The Butler County Fair is calling all swashbucklers.

Butler County Ohio Fair July 22-28.

The Cincinnati Circus is back for a second time at the fair, and this time it’s pirate-themed. It’s a free event for all on Saturday evening, July 28.

Families especially are encouraged to attend the show that will feature acrobatics, jugglers, magic and more.

Doug Turner, president of the Butler County Agricultural Society Board of Directors, says in addition to the big circus, there is plenty of action suited to all people at the grandstand throughout the Butler County Fair this year.

“There is a Demolition Derby on Monday and Friday nights,” Turner said. “This is a well-attended, action-packed event. There are tractor pulls on Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday nights. We have a new rodeo company this year, Broken Horn Rodeo, on Wednesday night.”

While the circus, the derby and other grandstand activities are big for the fair, the main attraction has always been the animals. Members of 4-H exhibit animals they raise and are judged on the quality of their project.

The highest achievement per species is awarded “Grand Champion,” Turner said.

“They are judged on their ability to handle and exhibit their animal. This is called ‘showmanship.’  The Grand Showman of All Showmen Contest is Friday evening, and is the grand finale, so to speak, of the 4-H events,” he said.

Fair attendees will be able to stroll through open barns featuring 4-H projects and animals.

“The kids can walk right up, and, in most cases, even touch the animals,” Turner said.

Children may also enjoy the Farm Zone with many hands-on farm activities.

There will be plenty of game, business, and food vendor booths for people to check out — more than 100, Turner said. New this year is Joe’s Mojo, a local coffee truck that offers specialty coffee and smoothies.

“There are several family owned vendors/concessionaires that have been coming to the Butler County Fair for many years,” he said.

Richard’s Pizza, Flubs Dari-ette and Niederman Family Farm will be on hand as usual — Turner says they are some of the vendors that have been around awhile. Neal’s BBQ will also be there and is somewhat newer to the week-long festival.

A popular game at the Butler County Fair that has been around for 125 years is back once again: The cane rack toss. Since 1892, Dearwester Canes out of Bellefontaine, Ohio has returned annually to the fair in Hamilton to give people chances to toss wooden rings onto their handmade canes (https://www.journal-news.com/news/local/butler-county-fair-game-doubles-time-machine/N2SU2Ma3sB3nzYvhVx7qbP/), and win one to take home with them.

The Butler County Fair is in its 168th year and requires hundreds of people to put it on every summer. According to Turner, organizing and executing the fair includes:

● Ten directors on the board; Each director has certain responsibilities and relies heavily on volunteers
● Adult advisors for each 4-H department who report to the directors, as well as Jr. Fair board members
● Fair organizers who work closely with the Ohio State University Extension Office of Butler County
● 4-H advisers who volunteer many hours working with members, helping them to prepare for the fair
● Gate workers, parking attendants, office workers, shuttle drivers, security and more

“It’s definitely a large group project and the planning goes on year-round,” Turner said.

HOW TO GO
What: The 168th Butler County Fair
Where: Butler County Fairgrounds, 1715 Fairgrove Ave., Hamilton
When: July 22-28, 2018; gates open at 7 a.m. daily
Cost: General admission (includes parking) each day: $8; Children ages 6-12 with paying adult: $3
More info: https://butlercountyohfair.org; Seniors age 62 and older and veterans get in free Wednesday; Grandstand admission prices vary (visit the website and click on the fairbook for more information)
Grandstand events: See showtimes and admission prices online at butlercountyohfair.org/2018-grandstand-events.

Butler County Ohio fair July 22-28, 2018.