10 county fair sights you don’t want to miss

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SALEM, Ohio — Making memories at the county fair is as old as dirt. Still, as a place were top produce growers and pie makers earn blue ribbons, county fairs have morphed into wild rides, fried anything and unique contests.

From derbies to costume contests, county fairs keep us entertained and coming back year after year.

What events and sights does your county fair have that make it unique? We’ve started a list of some events you might not know about.

Combine derby

The Carroll, Columbiana and Lorain counties host a combine demolition derby.

Like a typical demolition derby, drivers maneuver a combine around the pit, crashing into one another. Rules vary, but most include no direct hits to the driver’s area and stopping if a machine is another is lifted up off its wheels, to eliminate rollovers.

Power Wheels derby

Portage County Randolph Fair, — Aug. 22, 23 at 7 p.m.
Washington County Fair, Pa. — Aug. 14 at 8 p.m.

The kids’ Power Wheels demolition derby is where demolition derby champs can get their start. While rules may vary, in general the stock battery may be replaced with a 12 volt lawn mower battery only. The hood and doors may be secured so they don’t pop open and the youth must have something protecting their legs, a seat belt and be wearing a helmet. Also the Power Wheels may have a rollover bar made from plastic pipe; other than that, it must be completely stock.

The Big Lock
The Big Lock, Canfield Fair

The Big Lock

Based on Love Locks, a worldwide phenomenon of people placing locks on bridges, gates and other public structures, the Big Lock is a unique in both its shape and its intent.

This sculpture, at the Canfield Fair, was built specifically as a collection point for thousands of locks. Everyone is invited to pick a spot to hang a lock, locking up a collective love of the Canfield Fair.

Game of Logging

Crawford County Fair, Aug. 21 at 1 p.m.

The Game of Logging is a chainsaw training organization. The trainings are designed to help chainsaw operators develop safe techniques while felling and bucking trees. Winners of this regional competition will compete at the PA Timber Show at the Ag Progress facilities in June 2019.

Participants will compete in several events including; speed cut, bore post, spring pole, double bore, bucking, precision stump and tree felling. The winner will receive a $1,000 prize.

Poultry games

Ashtabula County Fair, Aug. 9 at noon

Rooster crowing contest awards the rooster that crows the most times in a half hour. All participating roosters must comply with Ohio poultry and fowl exhibition rules. The Egg Toss takes place at 2 p.m. Those who throw an egg the farthest win.

Human Antique Tractor Pull

Ashland County Fair, Sept. 17 at 6 p.m.

Just as it sounds, the human antique tractor pull challenges four-person teams to pull a tractor the greatest distance. Age categories are: ages 7-10, 11-15, 16 and up, men, women and corporate.

Fishing

The Great Geauga County Fair has fishing daily from 12-6 p.m.

This fair activity can open a new world for folks who have never experienced the pleasure of fishing, cleaning fish and/or eating freshly fried catfish caught straight from a pond that day. The pond is in the Natural Resources Park area of the fairgrounds.

Costume contests

From goats to horses and llamas and everything in between, many county fairs host costume contests. Wayne County has a goat costume contest, Canfield hosts several including dairy and horses and the list goes on. Check your local fair schedule to find out when and where the animals (and sometimes their handlers) will be on parade and judged.

Paddle boats

Butler Farm Show, Pa.

Paddle boats
Paddle boats

Rent a paddle boat and enjoy the water in the middle of the Butler Farm Show Grounds — 4,000 to 5,000 people do each year. Floyd Mahan from Middlesex Township in southern Butler County built the first ones at his home and in 1965 brought them to the Farm Show. Today, Dan Shaffer owns the boats and rents them daily.

Skid steer rodeo

Coshocton County Fair, Oct. 4, 10:30 a.m.

Think you’re pretty good maneuvering a skid steer loader? Put your skills to the test in this contest at the Coshocton County Fair. Like traditional rodeos, equipment rodeos are timed events, and participants complete a course designed to test handling, accuracy and speed. You might have to lift a bucket of water without spilling it, or stack a handful of pallets. The operator with the fastest time walks away with the bragging rights.

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Katy Mumaw is a graduate of Ohio State University where she studied agricultural communications and Oklahoma State University earning her master's in agricultural leadership. The former Farm and Dairy reporter enjoys family time and sharing the stories of agriculture.

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