Barlow Spring Fair

BARLOW – Anyone too eager to get a head start on summer can head down to the second annual Barlow Spring Fair on Saturday and Sunday for a weekend of classic country fair entertainment.

At the 143-year-old Barlow Fairgrounds at Ohio 550 and Ohio 339, the second version of the spring fair is designed to celebrate the grandeur of the Barlow Fair more than just once a year as a result of high attendance and demand.

Beginning Saturday morning and lasting through Sunday afternoon, fairgoers can enjoy an enormous handmade quilt show, 40-plus vendors, local fair eats, music, guest speakers and tractor pulls, among other classic fair traditions.

“I’ve seen a decline in fairs across the state, where they’ve become more commercialized, and they’re not like they were years ago,” said event coordinator Denise Tessum. “We’re the old country-time fair that used to exist that kid’s memories are built on.”

The last independent fair still in existence in Ohio, the spring fair will mean Barlow will effectively begin and end the fair season with its fall fair in September.

One of this year’s big draws will be the quilt show, happening all day Saturday and Sunday, with more than 75 quilt entries on display and a competition for the Grand Champion People’s Choice.

“When you see all those quilts hanging in every color and every design, it is breathtaking,” Tessum said. “I appreciate the time, effort and artistry, and they tell the history of our friends and family.”

Entering a quilt is completely free of charge, and the Barlow Fair Board is still accepting entries.

Also available again this year, Marilyn Mahar, a certified quilt appraiser, will be appraising the value of quilts by appointment for a $35 fee.

About 40 vendors, from clubs and businesses to arts and crafts, will also be attendance, and spaces are still available for any interested organization.

A range of guest speakers, from experts on beekeeping to an ATV safety course from the Ohio Farm Council and a kite workshop from the American Kite Fliers Association, will all be around for the weekend’s festivities, including a live performance from the High Plains Drifters band at 4:30 p.m. Saturday.

Food vendors will include everything from BBQ, old fashioned ice cream and sausage sandwiches.

The Beautiful Baby Pageant, with 12 participants in age from newborn to 35 months, will be held at 12:30 p.m. Saturday at the gazebo, with a crowned prince, princess, queen, king and little miss and little mister. All babies will win a trophy.

“A lot of these are about pageantry with all the fancy dresses and everything, but this is Barlow, and it is about having a positive experience and about building self-esteem,” said coordinator Shawn Eifler.

Tractor pulls, laser tag competitions, inflatables, face-painting and helicopter displays will also be around for kids and adults to enjoy.

Tessum said Jim Rhodes, a former teacher for Warren schools, will present “Memories of Warren School District” throughout the weekend, with a large collection of memorabilia from Warren schools that dates back to the district’s beginnings, from old yearbooks to lettermen jackets.

“This will be a great opportunity to tie the school district to the community,” Tessum said.

And for those concerned about trekking up the hill that the fairgrounds sits on, golf carts will be available to take patrons from the gate up to the fair.

“The spring fair is relatively new, so we’re trying to get it established,” Eifler said. “In Barlow, we’re at the mercy of the weather, so we’ll see what kind of turn out we get.”