Visitors to this year's Delaware County Fair can get a first look at new improvements and a last look at a building destined for the wrecking ball.
The fair runs Sept. 16-23 at the Delaware County Fairgrounds, 236 Pennsylvania Ave. in Delaware. The Little Brown Jug -- one leg of harness racing's Triple Crown for pacers and the fair's signature event -- will be run for the 72nd time Sept. 21.
Fair General Manager Sandy Kuhn said workers have been busy making improvements to the fairgrounds in preparation for this year's fair. Much of the work would not have been possible without a 3 percent tax increase on hotel rooms approved by county voters in 2016.
Kuhn said the tax brings in about $1.5 million per year for the fair, which is required to use the revenue for improvements to the site.
In preparation for this year's fair, workers:
* painted and installed new lighting at the grandstand
* constructed a double-sided tote board to display race information
* modernized lighting in the merchants building
* added new landscaping throughout the site
* made other important, but less-visible improvements, include upgrades to the fairgrounds' communications, electrical and water infrastructure.
Kuhn said fair officials are waiting to finalize plans for revamping the site's buildings before repaving the fairgrounds' internal roads -- a project that could top $1 million.
She said officials hope to finish the first step in a plan to overhaul the facilities -- the construction of a new junior fair building -- by the 2018 fair. She said the existing junior fair building, which was constructed in 1964, is in poor condition.
"(It's) a wooden structure that's got a lot of rot and a lot of beam damage in it that overall just needs replaced," she said.
The fair's offices may move to the building, which also will serve as a 500-seat event venue throughout the year. The project is expected to cost about $1.5 million.
Kuhn said fair officials want to use on-site venues to reduce the chance that inclement weather during the week of the fair could have long-term financial consequences.
"Our goals is that this fairgrounds breaks even for 11 months a year and the fair's a bonus," she said.
Kuhn said she hopes the fair's familiar combination of music, rides and races draws a crowd this year.
This year's Jug promises drama, as Downbytheseaside and Fear the Dragon are likely to compete. Kuhn said the horses, both of which are being trained at the fairgrounds by Brian Brown, are among the "top five" pacers in the nation.
Country singer Chris Higbee will help open the fair with a performance at 9 p.m. Sept. 16.
An entertainment schedule is available at delawarecountyfair.com/fair/ entertainment.cfm.
Those who can't wait for the fair to begin can get a head start with the traditional All Horse Parade, set for 3 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 10.
The 3-mile-long parade route begins and ends at the fairgrounds, heading south on North Sandusky Street, west on West Winter Street, north on North Liberty Street, west on West Lincoln Avenue and north on Euclid Avenue.