Officials with the Montgomery County Fair unveiled the new fairgrounds in Jefferson Township to the public Monday evening.
It’s the first time the fair is being held outside Dayton after more than 160 years, according to officials, marking a bittersweet beginning for longtime fairgoers.
“I was an East End kid, so the fairgrounds and UD Arena – those were all wonderful places when I was growing up,” said Karen Spitler, whose grandchildren show livestock at the fair.
“Getting both my two years first place and getting to do it with my cousin the first year,” said Leah, a student who shows livestock at the fair, as she reflected on her memories at the old fairgrounds.
Leah and her sister Morgan said they’re looking forward to the additional space the new fairgrounds has to offer.
“It’s definitely not what I expected,” said Morgan, who is showing goats at this year’s fair. “I was expecting just a barn, not a barn with windows.”
The new amenities include a horse arena, a 26,000-square-foot events center with heating and air conditioning and nearly 2,000 parking spots, according to officials.
“Where we wanted to do things down on South Main Street – we couldn’t do cause we just never had the room,” said John Yancik, president of the Montgomery County Agricultural Society.
That means more room for as many as 30 rides, compared to 22 rides at the former fairgrounds, Yancik said. The new fairgrounds can also fit more food vendors and people camping overnight, he added.
With about 70 acres of the property left to be developed, the fair can expand in the future, Yancik said.
“As money becomes available, the next generations can then add and go from our two buildings that we have up at this time,” he said.
Fairgoers we spoke with said they’re excited to see the new fairgrounds ready to open less than a year after construction started.
“It was the country comes to the city,” Spitler said. “But now we actually have country. And it’s wonderful out here.”
This year’s Montgomery County Fair runs July 9-15.