Organizers, vendors ready for opening of Barlow Fair

Photo by Erin O’Neill An inspector with the Ohio Department of Agriculture looks over the Paratrooper ride in preparation for the midway to open Thursday at the Barlow Fair.

BARLOW — The quaint community fairgrounds at the intersection of Ohio routes 339 and 550 were bustling with activity Thursday as organizers and vendors prepared for opening day of the Barlow Fair.

The oldest independent agricultural fair in the state has some of the oldest buildings and some of the hardest workers of any fair in the area, according to board member Denise Tessum.

“This is still a community fair and it’s still steeped in tradition,” Tessum said, pointing out the gazebo and play area. “When families come here, the kids are free to be kids and mom and dad can walk around and look at everything.”

There were close to 100 vendors setting up Thursday afternoon in preparation for the gates opening at 4 p.m. Many of the vendors have close ties to the community.

“I think we’ve been here about 10 or 12 years … a long time,” said Lucy King, treasurer of the Wesley Township Volunteer Fire Department Ladies Auxiliary, which had a food trailer on the grounds. “This is a really good fundraiser for us; it’s kind of like a family reunion.”

Photo by Erin O’Neill Anita Beeney, foreground, and Tammy Stackpole, back, are members of Barlow Bluebells flower club. The women were busy preparing floral displays for the opening of the Barlow Fair.

Tony Brown, owner of Brown Owl Imaging, a vendor specializing in aerial imaging via drones, took advantage of some down time before the fair kicked off to grab a steak sandwich from the fire department.

“This is our first year in business and our first year here but everyone has been wonderful to work with and it’s definitely an exciting place to be,” Brown said. “Much higher volume of people — and this sandwich is fabulous.”

Members of the Barlow Bluebells worked to arrange displays for the open judging. Everything from big blooms to big pumpkins and canned tomatoes to colorful quilts were entered into competition to display the “best of the best.”

“A lot of this has been judged already,” said Bethany Hinton, of Waterford, a five-year board member who is in charge of vendors and produce. “We had a little lower turnout on produce entries this year but we’re also a week later than we normally are … a lot of people’s produce is done at this point.”

Hinton said there was still a wide variety of items on display to satisfy the public’s desire to see all of the agricultural offerings.

Photo by Erin O’Neill Tony Brown, a licensed drone photographer with a booth at the Barlow Fair, took a break from setting up to grab a steak sandwich at the Wesley Township Volunteer Fire Department food trailer.

“Young and old love to be judged and bring their finest and the vendors are always happy,” she said. “We have something for everyone, free events for the kids, supporting FFA and 4H, and we’re going to have good weather.”

While many of the events, like the midway rides, the haunted house, Dino-Roar exhibit and laser tag are geared toward the younger crowd, Tessum said there was something for everyone, including a blood pressure screening and flu shots for $20, as well as many informational booths.

Today’s Schedule:

* Gates open at 8 a.m.

* Junior Fair Poultry/Market Duck in the Poultry Barn: 9 a.m.

* Market Dairy Goat Show: 4 p.m.

* Parade: 6 p.m.

* Tractor Pull: 6 p.m.

* Midway open: 6 to 11 p.m.

* Professor Bubbles on the midway: 7 p.m.

* Sheep and Goat Show at the Sheep Barn: 8 p.m.

* Food eating contest in the gazebo: 8 p.m.

* Dino Roar in the gazebo: 8 p.m.

* Professor Bubbles on the midway: 9 p.m.

* Appalachian Drift in the gazebo: 9 p.m.