Waterford Community Fair to begin this week

WATERFORD — To highlight productive, dedicated and disciplined work, the first of this year’s Washington County fairs kicks off this week in Waterford.

“It’s all about the kids, those late nights when the barn lights are still on as we drive home,” said Kendrick Schwendeman, 25, in his second year as a board member for the Waterford Community Fair. “For the FFA and 4H kids that work all year, to see the community come out and support them, recognize that work and as a kid to see the return on that work, it brings out the smiles.”

Hog weigh-ins continue this morning for the annual Waterford Community Fair.

“George is a good listener, I walk him around,” said Blake Huck, 10, of Waterford, one of the fair’s newest competitors, about his hog, George.

He’s following in the footsteps of his 12-year-old sister Allison, who also is showing a hog for the fair this year.

“Sometimes he runs away,” Blake said. “I’m excited to take my pig to the fair.”

Then through the weekend, the festivities continue with tractor pulls, arts and crafts displays, and of course, fair food and rides.

Gates open 4 p.m. today, then two hours later the only night of free rides opens, sponsored by the fair board.

“We really focus on the children and creating a memory-making event,” said board president Missy Antill.

Memories are made by competing in showmanship events for hogs and cattle raised over the last year by local FFA and 4H students ages 9-18.

“We have about 200 kids registered to show, and project around 190 hogs will be weight-eligible,” said Antill. “The kids bringing them are coming from as far as Frontier Local Schools, to around here with Warren, Fort Frye and Waterford.”

Antill said the fair does draw some, though not many, entries from Belpre City and Marietta City schools’ students, too.

“And this is kind of a kick-off for the school year, too,” said Schwendeman. “Waterford starts next week, but even to see the friends from FFA and 4H from other schools that you haven’t seen all summer because you’ve been working hard, there’s camaraderie there.”

Schwendeman said he’s excited to see friends’ children compete not only with their hog projects, but in the tractor pulls.

“There are no gender-specific or age-specific classes,” he said. “But I always kind of root extra for the girls, it’s not stereotypical, but they’re just as capable.”

The fair is also boasting not only new fancywork categories but a new name for one of the fairgrounds’ buildings.

“We wanted to honor two former board members who served for such a long time and gave so much to the kids here over the years,” said Antill. “So we renamed a building as the Adams-Staph building after Oran Adams and Ross Staph, both of whom have passed.”

The fair is also honoring a couple who gave their time for many years to the fair, having Jenny and Sam Sadler of Waterford are Friday’s parade marshals.