Food, rides, animals, exhibits ready for the opening day of the Holmes Fair

MILLERSBURG – The Holmes County Fair officially opens today, but vendors, exhibitors and staff have been busy over the weekend putting the finishing touches to the Harvest Ridge Fairgrounds.

The 98th annual fair takes place until Saturday.

Holmes Senior Fair board chairman Kerry Taylor said the setup was going smoothly with people arriving over the weekend to set up exhibits, deliver cattle and set up a camp.

“So far everything is going well,” Taylor said. “It’s going to be hot, but I hope it will be dry.

Taylor said the number of commercial suppliers could be down a bit this year due to the low number of employees and the lack of products. Many businesses are just too busy to come to the fair, he said.

There are a few new food vendors among the nearly 40 that will have their specialties available, ranging from fries and meats to many other goodies.

Christopher (left), Kaylin and Brittany Williams are working on setting up a cow chute on Saturday as they prepare for the 98th annual Holmes County Fair, which runs through Saturday.
Rich Holcomb of Holcomb's Classics prepares his Kettle Korn booth outside the Holmes County Fairgrounds Exhibition Center in Harvest Ridge.

Rich Holcomb took a break from setting up his tent outside the fairgrounds where he sells Kettle Korn.

“After last year, we’re up for anything,” said Holcomb. “The shows have been very good. People are happy to come back. I expect things to go pretty well this year.”

Part-time helpers keep Charlie Bauer’s Cafe moving forward

“We hope to be ready,” Charlie Bauer said. “Most of the vendors I’ve spoken to at other fairs say the crowds have been above normal. People are excited to come out. I think a lot of vendors are excited to come back because it’s almost been two years they haven’t been able to do anything. “

Charlie Bauer chops chicken in preparation for the Holmes County Fair.  The Bauer's Cafe inside the fairgrounds is one of the many food vendors that will delight visitors over the next week.

The Bauer’s Cafe is located inside the fairgrounds and will have daily specials on the menu, starting with roast beef and pulled pork on Mondays; Tuesday is pasta day; Wednesday is chipotle day; meatloaf is the Thursday special and Friday is fish fry day with yellow perch. Saturday is Charlie’s choice.

“We have a lot of great part-time assistants,” said Chris Goines of the management team. “I think I’ve got the hours covered, but we’re just going to take it one day at a time.”

Bauer’s Cafe will also run the Red Dairy Barn inside the exhibition center, offering soft serve ice cream, shakes and other cool treats.

SPECIAL DAYS:Children’s Day and Seniors Day among special days at Holmes County Fair

He noted that the folks at Kissel Entertainment are probably quite happy to be back on the tour after being totally shut down last year.

“I’m sure parents and grandparents will be happy to take their kids out to enjoy the rides again,” he said.

Bauer noted that the heat bothers fair visitors more than the rain, and he hopes the weather cooperates.

ANY TYPE OF SHOW:The stands will be bustling with activity at this year’s Holmes County Fair

Kissel Entertainment's Musik Express is empty awaiting the arrival of the children at the 98th Holmes County Fair.

Crazy Nate barbecue owner doesn’t know what to expect

Nate Morehouse, owner of Crazy Nate’s BBQ in Clark, is delighted to be back at the fairgrounds and regaining some sense of normalcy. The Holmes County Fair is the only fair he hosts, and he can’t wait to serve pulled pork, chicken, and ribs, along with fries, beans and coleslaw to hungry fair-goers. .

He admits he’s not sure what to expect when it comes to how much food to have and how much he expects to sell.

“It’s a roll of the dice,” Morehouse said. “I really don’t know what to expect. All bets are off, because the fairs are getting really crazy, from what I’ve heard. We can order all week if we need it. After Monday and Tuesday we’ll see where we are and go from there. “

He has 1,700 pounds of pork ready to cook.

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Crazy Nate's BBQ's Nate Morehouse can't wait to feed hungry festival goers this week.  Morehouse has a storage trailer and a cooker with its food trailer, which serves as a fundraiser for the West Holmes wrestling program.

“We start the cook on Sunday and it goes until Saturday night,” Morehouse said.

Crazy Nate’s serves as a fundraiser for the West Holmes wrestling program, and team members help out during the week at the food trailer.

Morehouse said he was able to survive the pandemic because he didn’t have utilities and rent to pay like restaurants, and when he needed extra staff, being a family business, he had just need to make a phone call home.

He pointed out that rising food prices were creating a problem. Pork prices have almost doubled in the two years since the start of the pandemic, he said.

WHAT’S NEW?:Holmes County Fair, new events for 2021: volleyball, cornhole, “celebrities” showing animals

Home arts, where quilts are making a comeback

Lisa Hipp (left) and Sonya Stutzman installed a quilt as part of the Home Arts exhibit in the Baker Building.

Sonya Stutzman and Lisa Hipp have set up the Home Arts Zone in the Baker Building, which features quilts and contest winners, such as photography, baking, crochet and knitting.

“I think it’s going to be a good year,” Stutzman said. “These events are mainly for adults, but there are also categories for children. We had a lot of registrations.”

Hipp added that the quilt appears to be making a comeback.

BACK TO NORMAL:Holmes County Fair officials look forward to a full fair in 2021

Amber Adkins (left) and Sabrina Yoder help set up the Lakeville Lakers 4-H display in the Baker Barn on Saturday.
Holmes County Fair Board members are working on installing a temporary fence at the south gate of the fairgrounds on Saturday morning.  Evans Elite Paving donated the paving project to the bridge for this year's fair.

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