MIAMI — The Ottawa County Free Fair is marking its 100th anniversary. But just like Roger Maris’ home run record, add an asterisk to it.
The modern day fair, which runs Aug. 16-24 at the Miami Fairgrounds, actually dates back to 1916.
A meeting was held on Jan. 14, 1916 to discuss bringing a fair to the area. Afton and Miami were the two locations discussed.
The inaugural Ottawa County Free Fair was held Sept. 18-20, 1916, four blocks from the center of town, east on Fourth Street.
Because of World War II, the fair was cancelled and the exhibition building was used for defense classes.
The fair resumed in 1944 and celebrated its 25th anniversary.
It’s been held every year since.
There’s been several close calls as to whether the fair would be held or not, case being the flood of 2007.
“It totally demolished three barns in July and the county fair still happened in August,” said George Hubbard, Ottawa County Fair Board Central District member. “There was no thought about cancelling it. It’s been that way over the years.
“When you look at the history of the fair, the names you still see that are around this community and helping with the fair, that was going on back in the ’30s and ’40s,” he said. “It’s neat to read those articles (from years back) and you see those same names that are involved today.
“It’s a tradition, for sure.”
He said there would be a bit of a retro look to this year’s fair, commemorating the past by bringing in some old tractors and vehicles.
“We want to bring some of that history back,” Hubbard said.
To commemorate the 100th year, a pair of concerts have been scheduled.
Thompson Square, featuring Miami native Kiefer Thompson, will perform at 7 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 18 at the fairgrounds grandstand.
“With them having ties to the community, obviously we thought that would be a good idea to bring them in to kick things,” Hubbard said.
Tickets are $20 and are available at the Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau, 111 North Main.
Also Western Justice will perform Friday, Feb. 23 before and after the premium sale.
There will be a tractor pull at 7 p.m. Aug. 16-17. Admission will be $10 with children under 8 admitted press. A pit pass is available for $15.
The annual demolition derby will be at 7 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 24. Admission is $15 with children under 8 admitted press. Pit passes are $20.
An antique tractor show will be at 5 p.m. Aug. 23-24.
Gates will open nightly at 5 p.m. for the grandstand events.
The premium sale dinner will be at 5 p.m., Friday, Aug. 22 followed by the presentation of awards at 6 p.m., and the premium sale at 6:30 p.m.
The show schedule includes:
Saturday, Aug. 17 — Dog show, 11 a.m.
Monday, Aug. 19 — Horse show, 6 p.m.
Tuesday, Aug. 20 — Poultry and rabbit judging, 8:30 a.m.; swine show, 4 p.m.
Wednesday, Aug. 21 — Sheep and goat show, 5 p.m.
Thursday, Aug. 22 — Beef show, 6 p.m.
Saturday, Aug. 24 — Dairy goat show, 9 a.m.; dairy cattle show, 10 a.m.; youth livestock judging, 11 a.m.; youth fitting contest, 1 p.m.; under 8 poultry and rabbit awards, 5:30 p.m.; bucket animal show and buddy show, 6 p.m.; Super Showmanship contest, 7 p.m.
Pre-entry is required for all species.
The carnival will run from 6 to 10 p.m. Aug. 20-24.
Wristbands are $28 nightly or $3 each, 10 rides for $28 and 30 for $75.
Exhibition building hours will be Tuesday through Friday from 4 to 9 p.m. with extended hours on Thursday from 10 a.m. to midnight for Senior Citizens and Kids Day.
For more information, contact the OSU Ottawa County Extension Office at 918-542-1688.