MARIETTA - For the first time in several years all 21 seats on the Washington County Fair Board have been filled, with seven new members joining the 2014 board.
"We were down to less than 16 members during this year's fair, but we're going into the new year with a full membership," said board president Fred Boyd.
He said the 2014 board will also include 14 members returning from the 2013 group. The seven new members include Bill Wesel, Sam Miller and Danny Chambers of Marietta, Shawna Burke of Waterford, Curt Moore of Reno, Curt Welch of Little Hocking and Barlow resident Dean McCoy.
"We told people that the board had some openings, and several have stepped up to become new members," Boyd said.
Dean McCoy considers himself a new member, although he did serve on the fair board back in the 1980s. He said the new board members are enthusiastic. McCoy, who taught FFA students in the Warren and Woodsfield school districts, would like to encourage more young people to become involved with the county fair.
"Years ago the 4-H Clubs and horse clubs were huge," he said. "But now there's so much kids and parents are involved with that those numbers have dropped off."
McCoy believes the new, more robust fair board should be able to boost participation in the fair by the younger generation.
Paul Barth, the 2014 board's vice president, has served on the fair board for the last 34 years. Barth said when fair time rolled around in September this year there were only about 12 or 13 people on the board.
"It's been a few years since we've had a full fair board, and when it's not full there aren't enough people to fill the various committees needed to run the fair," he said.
Fair board secretary Dick Henthorn agreed.
"I'm always asked why there are so many seats on the fair board, but come fair time you need every person you can get," he said. "We try to get the committees assigned as soon as possible every year because they're important."
Henthorn explained each committee is assigned to work on a different fair activity, and the members bring ideas and information about those activities to the full fair board.
"We try to assign people to the areas in which they may have some expertise," he said, noting the various committees handle everything from grandstand entertainment and amusements to livestock or flower and vegetable displays.
Boyd said the fair board is looking to secure a contract with a new amusement rides company and entertainment for the 2014 Washington County Fair. "We also welcome any comments about what the community would like to see at the 2014 fair," he said. "We want to make this fair a real fair again."