The 2019 Delaware County Fair, scheduled Saturday, Sept. 14, through Sept. 21, will be the first in more than 50 years without a separate Junior Fair building to house 4-H displays and activities.
But that won't put a crimp on the Junior Fair judging events, nor the 100th anniversary of 4-H in the county, said Laryssa Hook, the county's 4-H Ohio State University Extension educator.
The Junior Fair building was razed last year to make room for a larger building planned on the same site at the fairgrounds along Pennsylvania Avenue.
Hook said the judging events and 4-H Club booths -- housed at the former building since it was constructed in 1964 -- will be in the fairgrounds' Coliseum building this year.
The old Junior Fair building was removed after decomposition was found in wooden posts used in its construction. The 9,600-square-foot building will be replaced by one covering 24,080 square feet, said county fair manager Sandra Kuhn.
Kuhn said the bid opening for construction of the new building is scheduled later this month.
The new structure is estimated to cost about $3 million, she said, and the county agricultural society has the money in the bank.
Hook said the county opened its first extension office in 1918, and the next year 22 boys were enrolled in 4-H, scattered across the county.
Today, she said, Delaware County 4-H has 47 community clubs with 1,150 members and 300 adult volunteers, and about 800 members will compete in this year's fair.
The centennial will be the theme of most of the 16 4-H booths set up in the Coliseum, she said.
The county 4-H endowment committee will hold a centennial celebration during the fair, set from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Sept. 15 at the Coliseum.
Refreshments will be served; the public and 4-H alumni are asked to call 740-833-2030 by Tuesday, Sept. 10, to register.
At the vacant Junior Fair building site, Kuhn said, picnic tables will be set up during this year's fair.
A new Junior Fair event this year will be the Animal and Me show starting at 2 p.m. Sept. 20 in the Junior Fair Show Arena.
Twenty 4-H youth exhibitors and their animals will partner with individuals with disabilities served by the Alpha Group.
Morgan Jolliff, the Alpha Group communications representative, said the 4-H youth exhibitors will spend 45 minutes teaching the Alpha Group clients about the exhibitors' show animals.
Taking the information they just learned, they will enter the show ring at 3 p.m. with the animals to be judged like a typical 4-H show, Jolliff said.
"Our clients participating in this program are really excited to learn and exhibit a livestock animal in this show," she said.
Kuhn said one change for this year's fair is that a restaurant operated by a new vendor will return under the racetrack grandstand.
The fair opened a bar and concession stand there last year after the company that previously operated the restaurant concession went out of business.
Fairgoers expressed an interest in seeing a restaurant return, Kuhn said, to offer a wider menu than "just a hot dog and popcorn" that she said were sold there in 2018.
The location is busy during the week's harness racing, she said, highlighted by the Little Brown Jug, scheduled Sept. 19.
The Jug attracted about 40,000 fans last year, she said, part of the overall crowd of about 155,000 that turned out for fair week.
The fair will sell beer and wine at five spots around the track, and liquor will be available at three sites, she said.
Alternative rock band Blessid Union of Souls will perform at the Pavilion Hill Tent on the racetrack at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 14. Phil Dirt and the Dozers, which performs classic rock 'n' roll, will play at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 21 at the same venue.
A full entertainment schedule can be found at the fair's website, www.delawarecountyfair.com/fair/entertainment.cfm.
Advance tickets for the fair are available by calling 800-DELFAIR, Kuhn said.
Senior citizens will be admitted free to the fair Sept. 17, and a dinner for veterans is scheduled at 6:30 p.m. Sept. 20 at the Pavilion Hill Tent.
Information and registration forms for the veterans dinner are available at the Delaware County Veterans Services office and the fairgrounds office, Kuhn said.
"A lot of hard work and effort has gone on prior to the fair by a lot of people, for all fairgoers to have a safe and enjoyable eight-day fair, she said.
After being canceled because of severe weather in 2018, Delaware's annual All Horse Parade is set for 3 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 8, with about 120 units, said Diane Winters, longtime parade organizer.
The grand marshal is Delaware County native and Buckeye Valley High School graduate Janet Bay, a neurosurgeon who recently retired from OhioHealth Riverside Methodist Hospital.
The parade will begin and end at the fairgrounds and travel through downtown Delaware.