The oldest continuous county fair west of the Alleghenies is set to begin Monday, and the attractions include a high-wire act, parakeets and a massive steer that survived a tornado.
The Greene County Fair opens at 8 a.m. Monday and runs daily through Saturday. Depending on the weather, up to 60,000 people are expected to participate in the festivities through the week, according to Dan Bullen, fair board director and president of the Ohio Fair Managers Association.
New attractions this year include the Flying Pages, a high-wire act and motorcycle performance, and Parakeet Encounter, in which attendees enter a cage and can interact with hundreds of parakeets.
In addition to the livestock and other animal competitions, the fair this year will feature racing pigs, a few new food vendors and a Lanco Country Concert with special guest Jordan Davis on Tuesday night.
Bullen said Greene’s fair is different because it’s “a little bit country” and “a little bit urban.”
“If someone comes for the fair food they can see the animals, they can see the free acts that we have … Some people come for the carnival, they bring their kids, they can do it all,” Bullen said. “Fairs, especially southwestern Ohio fairs, are trying to push back. There’s something for everybody.”
Brandon Barr, a 16-year-old Beavercreek High School student, has been showing cattle and pigs at the fair since he was 7 years old. This year, Barr will be showing a massive brown steer named Tonto.
Tonto survived a tornado that ripped through a Beavercreek Twp. farm on Ludlow Road on April 3.
“This was our cattle barn,” Brandon said, pointing at an aerial photo of the damage. “The steer was in the barn which the roof got ripped off … He was a little spooked there for awhile.”
Tonto weighed about 1,000 pounds when the tornado happened in April. Brandon said during the three months since, Tonto has put on 350 more pounds.
“After the tornado, for about two months, he was real skittish. He was very easily startled. He was scared of a lot of small things that he usually wasn’t scared of,” Brandon said.
Brandon’s father, Jeff, a fair board director, said the steer calmed down significantly after his son worked with the him two times a day, walking and washing him and playing the radio around him.
When asked what he thought his chances were this year to win the cattle show, Brandon Barr replied with a smile.
“He’s lookin’ pretty good,” he said.
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Wednesday is Family Night, during which attendees can bring non-perishable food items and get $3 off the $6 gate admission price.
For more details, visit greenecountyfairgrounds.com.