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Old 08-16-2010, 09:47 PM
 
1,070 posts, read 1,055,358 times
Reputation: 607
Default Hamilton County Fair

So, the headlines are filled with doom about the venerable Hamilton County Fair. I'm interested to see what thoughts are out there about why the fair is failing, but I do have some personal opinions.

I see a lot of excuses for the demise of the fair, and I don't agree with most of them. Many attribute the location in Carthage as a reason people don't go, but I can't buy that. Carthage isn't the garden spot of the county, but I certainly in no way fear for my life in that neighborhood.

I hear a lot of comments about gangs of teenage thugs, but I tend to feel this is overblown, too.

Some say that the fair has outlived its usefulness in a county without any farms. My question to those folks, though, is who says the fair has to be about agriculture? Maybe it could be our "culture" as Hamilton County...an exposition of our arts, food, business environment, with fun things to see and do. Who cares if no one in the county has a pig anymore? The fair needs to adapt.

Frankly, I see it as a failure of leadership of the Fair Board, and what it boils down to is that they really haven't given anyone a reason to attend in many years. They are set in their ways and they have presented a lousy product. They have allowed the fair grounds to get run down, and over the years it has steadily lost its charm. When I was kid, I remember a midway of shady trees (granted, some of those may have been taken down by the '74 tornado), but trees go a long way toward keeping the heat off fair goers. Couldn't they have planted new ones?

The fair used to have a lot of local personality, too. Not so much in later years with all the carnie concessions, yet somehow the Harvest Home Fair in Cheviot feels like a real home town affair. If they can do it in Cheviot, why not in Carthage? There's no reason the fair couldn't be bigger than the biggest festivals like the Greek Festival, St. Rita's, and others...but you have to give people a reason to come.

Oh, and it probably helps if you promote the fact that you are actually having a fair. My family has been going to the CARTHAGE Fair for four generations, and this year no one went. I asked my father this past Saturday, "when's the fair this year?" He guessed it started next week. Neither one of us realized it was already over! Too bad ol' Bob Braun is dead and buried...running his show from the fair was great publicity.

All this talk of moving the fair out to Ross or some such place, I think is doomed to fail if the same people stay in control. I hate to see the fair go away, and moving it is not a real solution either. It's really a shame that it has come to this.
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Old 08-17-2010, 06:24 AM
 
2,204 posts, read 4,304,401 times
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Here's my opinion from a late-20-to-early-30-year-old:

Thugs: No (thugs go to other events that remain successful - even King's Island for God's sake)
Recession: Again, KI? Coney Island was PACKED last Sunday, The Beach a few weeks ago was also slammed.

In my mind, I'm thinking ... who wants to go to the fair?! I've never had an ounce of interest in going and never will. I have an appreciation for supporting local historic establishments simply because they're just that (as with many of my peers) ... i.e. Findlay Market, so it's not that.

It just sounds like a "country bumpkin" per say thing to do.

These only reflect my opinion from what I believe is a common mindset of the age group mentioned above. This is a MSA of 2.2 Million people and with Dayton coming into the mix ... a "Metropolis" to be technical, a county fair ain't gonna fly here.
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Old 08-17-2010, 03:50 PM
 
Location: Hartwell--IN THE City of Cincinnati
1,055 posts, read 2,461,621 times
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t45209--you touch on a lot of valid points. Many things have been suggested, many things are ignored. My frustration level is through the roof on this issue.

The Fair is what i view as an educational opportunity, one that is not being embraced by the county as a whole. Back yard gardening of flowers & veggies as well as raising & owning chickens is a growing thing in many cincinnati neighborhoods, as are community gardens & farmers markets. I dont think a lot of people know about the Fair, I dont think the hours of operation are what they should be, I also think the excuse of paying security and not enough volunteers is the NOT the problem. And sure as hell the location is not the problem....what does that leave? hmmm...

I have many opinions are to what is wrong but I would rather share them with the Fair Board before sharing them here, and I plan on it. And dont get me started on that Enquirer article...so many things incorrect in it. I tried to call the writer from my vacation location this morning.
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Old 08-17-2010, 06:52 PM
 
Location: Cincinnati, Oh
295 posts, read 536,197 times
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I was waiting for you to chime in HG. I have heard of that article a few times. Do you have a link?
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Old 08-17-2010, 08:29 PM
 
Location: Hartwell--IN THE City of Cincinnati
1,055 posts, read 2,461,621 times
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its on the Cincinnati Enquirer home page scroll down to the government section (no idea why its there in that section)
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Old 08-17-2010, 08:47 PM
 
Location: Cambridge, MA
3,913 posts, read 6,033,203 times
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I'm totally in the dark as to how the fair went this year, but last year there was a huge spike in attendance (over 50% compared to 2008) with no problems whatsoever. Little had changed since when I went to it during childhood, between the carnival rides and junk-food vendors and bad music acts etc etc. The "yesteryear" barn with all its cool exhibits was still there, as was the "exposition" building with all the competing home-canned tomatoes and home-grown flowers and so on. Hot and bored animals whiled away their time in temporary stalls as always. Even the demolition derby and pro-rasslin shows remained.
I think it might've cost all of eight bucks for an adult admission, a damn sight cheaper than any "theme park." That alone might've accounted for the crowds last year in large part. As for what was lacking, I agree that there could be lots more in terms of interactive displays concerning organic gardening and so on. Even the zoo has educational stuff like this now. Plant nurseries could make a killing by having something set up on the fair grounds and making products available for sale on the spot. Community gardens could be promoted, with people on hand to help launch new ones. (Just this summer yet another big vegetable plot was launched - in Roselawn, to provide a small counterbalance to the closing of the neighborhood Kroger's.)
One noticeable change to the fair compared to 40 or so years ago was that the throngs in attendance represented a much larger cross-section of humanity. Despite the muggy heat on the day I went, everybody I saw was in good spirits and peacefully mingled. You don't have to be a "country bumpkin" or blue-collar to lack pretensions and enjoy the event for what it is. Kiddie rides, calves and homemade preserves displaying prize ribbons, corn dog stands, and such are all true to the spirit of a county fair - whether the county be 95% cities and sprawl or 5%.
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Old 08-17-2010, 11:01 PM
 
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I generally avoid going to any county fair in highly urbanized areas - Carthage, Cuyahoga, and of the six Chicagoland county fairs - as they are BORING. Most of the farmers in the counties are long gone or take their animals and the like to neighboring county fairs. There are the carny amusements (dangerous and boring compared to amusement parks), lousy food, and a really limited number of exhibits and the like. Eight dollars for at best one or two hours of entertainment is pretty expensive. And eight dollars is what you generally spend to get into the better STATE fairs.

Ohio has some great COUNTY fairs - Lorain, Geauga, Wooster, Wayne, Holmes, and Ashland just to name a few.

For the record, I attend three or four county fairs and two state fairs a year. In the past, we would purchase an animal or two or ten from our employee's kids in 4-H
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Old 08-18-2010, 09:54 AM
 
Location: Far from where I'd like to be
24,838 posts, read 30,109,705 times
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I really miss county fairs ... They don't have them around here. Of if they do, they're poorly marketed. Which brings me to ...
Quote:
Originally Posted by t45209 View Post
it probably helps if you promote the fact that you are actually having a fair. My family has been going to the CARTHAGE Fair for four generations, and this year no one went. I asked my father this past Saturday, "when's the fair this year?" He guessed it started next week. Neither one of us realized it was already over!
There is NO marketing of this fair, at all. Even if there was an attraction appealing to the masses (are goats and corn dogs not enough of a reason? ), no one would ever know when the heck it is, how to get there, or what the schedule is.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cincy-Rise View Post
It just sounds like a "country bumpkin" per se thing to do.
Elitist. And Montgomery County has its own (quite successful, smack in the middle of the city to boot) fair; don't "mix" Dayton into your dreams of an even-Greater Cincinnati.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hartwell Girl View Post
I have many opinions are to what is wrong but I would rather share them with the Fair Board before sharing them here, and I plan on it. And dont get me started on that Enquirer article...so many things incorrect in it. I tried to call the writer from my vacation location this morning.
You go girl!
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Old 08-18-2010, 03:47 PM
 
Location: Cincinnati, Oh
295 posts, read 536,197 times
Reputation: 125
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hartwell Girl View Post
t45209--you touch on a lot of valid points. Many things have been suggested, many things are ignored. My frustration level is through the roof on this issue.

The Fair is what i view as an educational opportunity, one that is not being embraced by the county as a whole. Back yard gardening of flowers & veggies as well as raising & owning chickens is a growing thing in many cincinnati neighborhoods, as are community gardens & farmers markets. I dont think a lot of people know about the Fair, I dont think the hours of operation are what they should be, I also think the excuse of paying security and not enough volunteers is the NOT the problem. And sure as hell the location is not the problem....what does that leave? hmmm...

I have many opinions are to what is wrong but I would rather share them with the Fair Board before sharing them here, and I plan on it. And dont get me started on that Enquirer article...so many things incorrect in it. I tried to call the writer from my vacation location this morning.
Anxiously awaiting your future posts, HG.

Go get 'em.
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Old 08-18-2010, 06:23 PM
 
2,204 posts, read 4,304,401 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ohiogirl81 View Post
Elitist.
Only when compared to someone that does not patronize County Fairs.

Quote:
And Montgomery County has its own (quite successful, smack in the middle of the city to boot) fair; don't "mix" Dayton into your dreams of an even-Greater Cincinnati. :rolleyes
What does this even mean?! lol
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