(Last updated at 10:25 a.m., Sept. 9, with new information about livestock that can be returned to the fair. Scroll down for the latest updates)
WOOSTER, Ohio — The opening day of the Wayne County Fair started mostly as usual, but by the end of the day, several hundred head of livestock were sent home for fear of flooding over the weekend, and the outdoor entertainment was cancelled.
The swine, beef and dairy cattle were all released early, following a decision by the fair board, in consultation with emergency service providers, local law enforcement and the National Weather Service.
According to the weather service, as much as five inches of rain was expected through Sunday night, and a flash flood watch is in effect through Monday, Sept. 10.
“We’re trying to be proactive and not reactive,” said fair board secretary Matt Martin, who was making his way around the grounds Saturday night, helping get animals evacuated.
Martin said the safety of the people and animals is the first priority, and that putting on a fair comes later. He said more than 100 volunteers were helping load up the animals at the Wayne County Fair, and estimated just as many were on hand at the Richland County Fairgrounds, near Mansfield, where swine projects were being trucked.
The plan is to hold the swine projects as scheduled — just at the Richland County Fairgrounds.
“People are just really out here and making this happen,” he said.
The plan is to keep the poultry and sheep projects on the grounds. Updates were being sent out throughout the night to advise exhibitors and their committee leaders of any changes.
An announcement was made late Saturday that dairy projects could stay on the grounds through the night, if the exhibitors chose. The dairy show was held as usual, with plenty of space and seating inside the show arena.
Check back for updates, and for the most complete information, follow the Wayne County Fair Facebook page, and if you are an exhibitor, follow your livestock committee’s announcements.
• • •
The following statement was released Sunday, Sept. 9, at 10 a.m., and explains the plan for returning certain livestock to the grounds:
To: All exhibitors, from The Wayne County Fair Board
Yesterday’s unprecedented evacuation went very, smoothly. Thank you to all
for the patience and cooperation during this event. As we discussed with
many of you yesterday, our priority was to preserve human and livestock
lives when faced with a high potential for a flash flood that would have
prevented access to the barns.
In continued consultation with the Wayne County Emergency Management Agency
(EMA), Wayne County Sheriff, Wooster Fire Department and the National
Weather Service it appears that the storm, while sill present in the area,
no longer poses the flash flood risk that prompted the evacuation. While
there are areas on the fairgrounds that are still prone to flooding, these
areas are the lower lying areas and are known to accumulate water under
In light of the above, we have decided that it is now safe for most
livestock to return to the grounds and resume the normal fair operation as
much as possible. The list below describes the intended plan for returning
livestock to the grounds.
As expected, there are going to continue to be modifications to normal
operations of the fair. See the list below for instructions for returning
livestock to the grounds or other changes. We realize that not everyone
or everything can be accommodated due to the weather conditions.
Please stay tuned to the Wayne County Fair Facebook page and Wayne County
Fair website (www.waynecountyfairohio.com) for updated information. We
look forward to continuing weather and having a great fair!
• Sara Evans Concert as of now, is still on! Keep watching Facebook or
website for more details
• High school band performances for Monday – cancelled due to muddy
conditions in parking area and track
• “Vendor Campground” and “Car Exhibitors” – remains closed for now
• Beef and Dairy Steers – all steers will remain at their designated feed
lots until after the sale on Thursday. We understand that this is not
ideal for exhibitors; however, this is the best option for the animals and
continued operation of the fair. Auction will be held on Thursday as usual..
• Beef Breeding and Feeders – Are permitted to return to the grounds starting
immediately and must be in place by 10 am Monday to be eligible to show. Prior
to 10 PM Sunday, Trucks/trailers will enter gate 4 unload, turn around and
exit gate 4 after 10 PM enter and exit gate 5&6.
• Trucks/trailers will enter gate 4 unload, turn around and exit gate 4.
• Jr. Fair Horses – A plan is being discussed for return. Stay tuned for
• Dairy cattle – Are permitted to return to the grounds starting immediately
and must be in place by 10 am Monday to be eligible to show. Prior to 10
PM Sunday, Trucks/trailers will enter gate 4 unload, turn around and exit
gate 4 after 10PM enter and exit gate 5&6.
• Swine – Will remain in place at the Richland County Fairgrounds. Shows
will be held according to schedule at the Richland County facility. *Rules
for exhibiting to be eligible for the sale will be waived this year to
accommodate those that have conflicting shows and can’t travel between
locations. It is still highly encouraged to arrange for your animal to be
shown when called to the ring in any species show.* Any junior fair
exhibitor is eligible to fill in for the exhibitor in a market or breed
based class. Auction will be held on Thursday as usual.
• Draft/Mini-Horse – Are permitted to return to the grounds starting
immediately and must be in place by 8 am Monday to be eligible to
will enter gate 4 unload, turn around and exit gate 4.
• Sheep, Goats, Rabbits and Poultry – will remain in place with the
exceptions of turkeys which have already been relocated to the “Overflow
Barn” due to pen flooding. Likewise goats from the tent will be moved to
the now vacant hog barn due to tent flooding.
The Board understands the continued impacts to exhibitors and greatly
appreciates the continued cooperation, understanding and flexibility during
this challenging time.
The following statement was released by the fair board, and explains what is likely to happen with the livestock auction:
To: All livestock exhibitors
From: The Wayne County Fair Board
Date: September 8, 2018 at 2 p.m.
Based on current weather forecasts and in consultation with Wayne County Emergency Management Agency (EMA), Wayne County Sherriff, Wooster Fire Department and the National Weather Service we believe there is a high likelihood that parts of the fairgrounds will flood over the next few days. While we hope that the weather forecast improves, we have been advised, and have concluded that it is in the best interest in safety and property preservation that livestock and other areas within the floodway are evacuated ahead of the need.
This is an unprecedented decision and we realize that there is significant impact to all exhibitors. We ask for your cooperation, patience and calm during this effort. Please follow all directions of Law Enforcement, Emergency Personnel, Fair Board Directors, Fair Staff and Parking Lot Personnel. We have time to complete this process before flooding occurs.
The schedule is based on the areas that flood first and will work to the East if needed.
We are hoping for the best, while planning for the worst to protect our exhibitors and patrons. Since the weather forecast is always changing, we hope that we can avoid cancelling shows on Sunday, as well as the rest of the week. Please stay tuned to the Wayne County Fair Facebook page and Wayne County Fair website (www.waynecountyfairohio.com) for updated information on shows and hopefully, when we can return to the Fairgrounds after the storms and resume our great fair!
“Vendor Campground” and “Car Exhibitors” – released at 1:30pm to go home OR to the former Shearer Equipment lot west of the fairgrounds. Fair Board Directors/Staff will be there to facilitate parking…this will be a much more cramped condition so please bear with us so that we can provide the maximum amount of space for campers. 4H Campgrounds are higher elevation and should not be affected; however, if you so desire, you may take your camper out after 11pm tonight.
Beef and Dairy Steers – the Beef Committee will take possession of all market livestock and transport to an off site location to be fed out until the Thursday sale. These livestock will be loaded out at approximately 7:00pm tonight.
Beef Breeding and Feeders – The owner will be responsible for self-transportation to the home location and can be led out to the race track after 7:00pm tonight. Trucks/trailers will enter gate 3, travel around the track as directed, load and exit traveling in the same direction back to gate 3 and exit.
Jr. Fair Horses – Are released at 3:00 pm to go home. Trucks/trailers will enter gate 7 and exit gate 8. Long trailers can park on drive behind horse barns and horses may be walked out to load. Tack may be removed IF it can be loaded quickly, otherwise return after midnight to remove.
Dairy cattle – Are released at 11:00pm for self-transportation to the home farm. ONLY two options for hauling. Option 1 – come in gate 5&6, exit gate 4. Option 2 – enter gate 3 and go around the track as directed, load on track and out gate 3 continuing in same direction. Do not cross bridge with vehicles.
Swine – Option 1 – hauled by the Fair Board and Swine Committee to Richland County Fairgrounds this will begin at approximately 3pm today. Option 2 – self transport of animal to Richland County; however, these animals will leave last and exhibitor choosing this option runs the risk of not having the opportunity to leave grounds if a mandatory evacuation is ordered by Wooster Fire Department and Wayne County EMA. Members will be advised of arrangements for further care, showing and sale of their animal. It is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED to utilize the mass transportation option as we are trying to minimize excessive traffic on grounds. If option 2 is selected, enter Gate 1 (Vanover Street) and exit gate 4. If you desire to show, relocate it to the Richland County Fairgrounds as directed by the Swine Committee.
Draft/Mini-Horse – enter gate 3 and as directed on the track, load on track and out Gate 3 continuing in same direction. Horses can be led out starting at 9:00pm.
Sheep, Goats, Rabbits and Poultry – will remain in place as these barns are on higher elevations and we will notify exhibitors if needed for the next steps if necessary.