ST. CLAIRSVILLE – People attending the upcoming Belmont County Fair this week will notice significant changes and improvements to the fairgrounds.
“We really have a great funfair”, said Commissioner JP Dutton, adding that paving and three new buildings have been completed in the past three years. “There is a lot of work being done there. … I think it’s amazing how far they’ve come … the progress they’ve made.
“We have received grants and many fundraisers”, said Board Chairman Ed Campbell. “I would say that over the last year we have invested about $200,000 in the fairgrounds here…through fundraisers, sponsorships and money that we have set aside for different projects .”
This will be the fair’s 13th year at the fairgrounds, located at 45420 Roscoe Road off US 40 west of St. Clairsville.
“We have a great community,” Campbell said. “We are very proud of this place here. We’ve put a lot of work and effort into it, but without the community we have and the support we have, none of this would be possible.
The latest addition to the fairgrounds is the Collins Family Business Building near the gates.
“We built a new commercial building right next to the main office,” he said. “He was sponsored by the Collins family, Clifford Collins and his family.”
He added that Clifford Collins has been a complete participant and supporter of the fair.
“His kids have always been big into 4-H, they’ve always been very active, kids and grandkids.”
The building is dedicated to Clifford Collins, Nancy Collins-Vannest, Paul and Christy Collins of the Bethesda area. Campbell said the family is dedicated to county fairs.
“They have been part of fairs for as long as I can remember. For years and years they have been part of it – probably longer than me, 30 or 40 years at least,” Campbell said. “…They have been active members of 4-H for probably over 40 years.”
Campbell said the building will hold all trade goods during the fair and continue to prove useful later.
“Later, we will heat and cool it and rent it all year round,” Campbell said.
He pointed to other additions.
“The new commons building is 60 by 80 (feet). It is also equipped with toilets inside, and later I think we can rent this building for different events”, Campbell said. “The sheriff’s department has created a new position here. … It’s a central command post. They will be able to set up for different events that we have and any security needs.
Campbell said the latter was a joint project between the sheriff’s office and the fair board.
“In fact, we’ve been working on the sheriff’s office for about four years, with all the planning stages. … Everything finally fell into place this year.
Attendees will be greeted by new landscaping at the main entrance, with small lamps on either side of the path.
Commuting will also be easier, as there is a new paved walking path to the motocross halfway. This was done using leftover funds from an asphalt project last year, earmarked for a footpath.
“It will help more people to get to this area who usually wouldn’t have been able to get there,” he said.
The open ox barn now has additional space for the cattle pen.
“The animals will actually be on display there all week. We have two sides like that, one on each side and one in the back,” he said. “It’s been growing every year, and that’s actually the purpose of the add-ons…the growth of the fair.”
He said additions to the lamb and goat barn were also paved over this year.
In addition, the exhibition center also has a new riding arena for riders. The enclosed area is approximately 90 by 120 feet.
“There are a lot of 4-H rides throughout the year, and they hope to expand into different open shows,” Campbell said.
Sponsors included the Fair Board Horse Committee and Chick-fil-A.
Two other camping areas for people with disabilities have also been installed.
In terms of entertainment, Campbell said there was a full slate of events.
“We have several different things that we bring back. We have the monster trucks that we are bringing back this year on Thursday night, the TWH group, it will be Saturday, and then our regular tractor trucks pull Friday and Saturday night. The rodeo is on Wednesday, so it will be a full schedule this year for entertainment.
New events include a hay bale decorating contest, with hay donated by the Barricklow and Duvall families of Barnesville.
Campbell said newcomers and those who haven’t been to the fair in a while will be impressed.
“I believe it gets better every year, and I believe there will be a lot of noticeable changes,” he said.
Sponsors include ICR equipment, rental, sales and supply; Whiteside Chevrolet Buick GMC; Belmont Savings Bank and many more.
Fair events begin at 1 p.m. on Sunday with junior fair projects. A meeting will be held Monday at 11 a.m., followed by an opening ceremony at noon. Events on both days end at 5 p.m. Show events will take place from 8:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday, 9 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Thursday, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.