The smell of funnel cake and fried delights filled the air.
Kids screamed in joy and terror as they zipped around on spinning rides.
Goats and sheep bleated and turkeys cackled as they were readied for competition.
All of this could mean only thing: The Montgomery County Fair is back.
The 171st installment of the week-long county fair got off to a smooth and promising start on Sunday, with comfortable temperatures and all the contests, food vendors, carnival games, amusement rides, entertainment, activities and attractions that can draw 26,000 to 30,000 people or more each year.
But the fair is far more than just a collection of mouth-watering food options and fun rides — it’s a showcase of the talents of young people who participate in 4-H, Montgomery County Commissioner Debbie Lieberman said during the opening day ceremony.
“This is a wonderful, important part of our community,” said County Commissioner Carolyn Rice. 4-H “helps young people ... learn the importance of taking responsibility and dedication to duty.”
Morgan Michael, 17, of Farmersville, said she looks forward to the county fair every year, and like many attendees, she’s been coming to it ever since she was little.
Though she likes the food at the fair, first and foremost she comes to compete.
Michael will be showing goats at the market showmanship competition on Tuesday, plus half a dozen pigs in a separate contest.
Michael was the meat goats showman winner last year, and she hopes to have another strong performance this go-around, even though she says her goat last year was “better acting.”
“You never know — I feel like I could do pretty good, but I guess we’ll see,” she said.
The fair has seen some changes over the years — most notably to its location.
This is the fifth year that it’s been held at its new home at 645 Infirmary Road in Jefferson Twp., and officials and visitors say while the previous site in Dayton served its purpose, the new home is a perfect fit.
Shelbi Reffitt, 32, of Miamisburg, said she was impressed by the new fairgrounds because it is far larger than the former site in Dayton and it is packed with things to do.
Until Sunday, Reffitt hadn’t been to the fair since she was her daughter Ava Rich’s age, and Ava is just 11.
Reffitt said she has fond memories of the fair from when she was a kid, and she’s glad it still has all of the things she used to love, like funnel cakes, a Ferris wheel and rides.
Rich is a big fan of rides, and Reffitt said she’s willing to get a little dizzy if it means making her daughter happy.
“She loves it,” she said.
And the fair is just getting warmed up — there is so much more to come through Saturday, including horse shows and a costume class, bands and live music, circus acts, a rodeo, a wood carving auction, demolition derbies and a baby contest where little ones are judged for their personalities and appearance.
MONTGOMERY COUNTY FAIR
WHEN: Now through Saturday, July 15, opening at 10 a.m. each day
WHERE: 645 Infirmary Road in Jefferson Twp.
COST: Daily admission is $10 per person, which includes parking; children 6 and under are free with a paying adult; Tuesday is $5 for veterans, first responders and senior citizens with a valid ID