The farm animals, family fun and deep-fried foods are back at the 157th Hartford Independent Fair Aug. 9-15.
“I’m expecting about 230,000 people to turn out. I’d like to see 250,000 this year,” fair manager Larry Hughes said.
This year, fair organizers added 125 camping ground plots that feature electricity and water as part of a project started last year. A 12-foot safety fence has been erected in front of the bleachers in the grandstand.
“We were concerned about someone getting hurt,” Hughes said.
This year, there will be close to 70 food trailers and up to 15 different amusement rides at the Hartford Independent Fair. Hughes said he personally looked forward to the pepperoni on a stick, the stromboli, french fries and hot dogs.
What won’t be at the fair this year, however, are the poultry shows. The Ohio Department of Agriculture issued a ban on all poultry shows at fairs in the state in 2015 because of the threat of a deadly bird flu virus.
Several other states have already canceled poultry shows at summer fairs, including Indiana, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Michigan.
Even without chickens, plenty of shows featuring sheep, goats, pigs, cattle, rabbits and horses are scheduled throughout the week.
Featured grandstand entertainment includes Clark Manson and Frankie Ballard at 7 p.m. Aug. 10. Tickets for this show cost $20 and can be purchased online.
Other grandstand shows are free and include the OSPTA Truck and Tractor Pull at 7:30 p.m. Aug. 11; Figure 8 and PU Races and Demolition Derby at 7:30 p.m. Aug. 12; Fast Traxx Motocross Racing at 7:30 p.m. Aug. 13; a Rough Truck Contest at 7:30 p.m. Aug. 14; and the Championship Horse Pull at 7 p.m. Aug. 15.
The fair dates back to 1858, when, according to the fair website, it was called the Hartford Independent Agricultural Society.
It now attracts about 200,000 people each year and calls itself “The Biggest Little Fair In the World.”
“People call this their home fair because they come and hang out all week and they can see people that they know and catch up on the past year,” Hughes said. “It’s a great family event that’s for all ages.
“The fair lets kids show their 4-H projects and livestock that they have been working so hard on for months and months,” he added.
Hughes said the Hartford Independent Fair puts on one of the largest swine shows in Ohio, besides the Ohio State Fair.
“If all of the entries show up, we might have to add 22 additional pens by putting up a tent,” he said. “That’s the first time in a long while that we’ve potentially had to expand.”
General admission costs $7 Sunday to Saturday for ages 8 and older. On Monday, admission is $3 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. for Senior Citizens Day and Veterans Day.
The first 150 seniors who come to the fairgrounds pavilion on Senior Day will receive a free box lunch between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. Lunches and a goody bag are being donated by Licking Memorial Hospital and Chestnut House.
Other lunchtime activities include entertainment, bingo and door prizes.
The event is sponsored by the Licking County Task Force on Aging, For more information, call Kathy Wise at 740-404-9603.
Children age 7 and younger are admitted free to the fair. Parking is also free.
Wristbands for midway rides cost $8 to ride from noon to 5 p.m. and $9 to ride from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m.
Season tickets are $30 and membership tickets are $35.
The fairgrounds is at 14028 Fairgrounds Road N.W. in Croton.
More information is available by calling 740-893-4881.