ASHLAND – The 2019 Ashland County Fair is underway, marking the last official week of summer.
Fairgoers gathered at noon on Sunday and met at the pavilion where the opening ceremony unfolded. The Ashland County Fair Board were seated aligned near the proscenium.
Mayor Matt Miller offered his comments on Steve Englet, Ashland County Fair manager, as well as the community.
"He's out here all of the time making improvements so that our fair can get better and better every year," Miller said. "This is still a part of America that values those traditional American values of hard work, self-reliance, personal responsibility, honor, dignity - all of those values that come from living in a rural area like Ashland County.
"That's why we want to call this 'home' and that's why it's always great to look forward to the Ashland County Fair, because our fair is a celebration and manifestation of all of those values that have made America great."
The ceremony ended with a ribbon cutting, officially debuting the 2019 Ashland County Fair.
The Junior Fair King and Queen contest immediately followed the opening ceremony. Teenage candidates promenaded the central aisle of the pavilion one by one, and joined Mayor Matt Miller on stage.
Miller lent his public speaking talents as host to the competition.
Clay Schoen, a 17-year-old senior at Hillsdale High School, was crowned King. Although he was the only male to enter the contest, he was quite deserving of the embroidered letters across his sash - Schoen is an athlete at Hillsdale and has plans to attend the University of Findlay and become a veterinarian.
Miller grilled Schoen on his involvement with the IMPACT Youth Council in Ashland County, to which Schoen offered a prompt response.
"The Youth IMPACT Council is a council of peers from all over Ashland County," Schoen said. "The community foundation was generous enough to give us $10,000 in grant money that we then redistribute to youth programs in Ashland County that have applied for grants through us."
The title of Fair Queen was awarded to 17-year-old Shawna Barr of Hillsdale High School. Barr is a member of the National Honors Society and is class treasurer. She has plans to Oklahoma State University and pursue a career as a large animal veterinarian.
Faith Miller, Autumn Spring and Alayna Furr all were awarded the title of Ambassador, and Megan Schwendeman became the first Ashland County Junior Princess.