CROTON — The summer season is fair season, and although The Hartford Independent Agricultural Society, or commonly known as the Hartford Fair, is not an official fair for Licking County, it does hold its place among area fairs. Licking County doesn’t have a county fair, thus Hartford Fair has stepped up to the plate incorporating directors from neighboring Knox and Delaware counties to make the event the unofficial fair for the community.
This year the fair is getting ready for another year with changes to the fairgrounds already complete.
“We work [on] facilities and the infrastructure of the fairgrounds, and the parking lot areas, to improve the grounds. ... It is kind of hard to look at it and see, but we know that [improvements are] there and we hope the public, when they come on the grounds, will see it,” said Larry Hughes, Hartford Fair Board secretary/manager.
Many different areas of the fairgrounds were upgraded. The horse arena received four new light towers and was expanded by 16 feet with new fencing and more dirt.
An added feature to the fair this year is preferred parking. The area between the campground and the hog and rabbit barn has been converted into parking with seven driveways and the capacity to hold several hundred cars.
Also, gravel has been added to the north and south parking areas. With all the improvements to parking, Hughes hopes that it will make getting in and out easier.
“Another thing that we are doing is we have another lot that we are using for horse trailers,” he said.
Horse trailers will have the opportunity to park on the fairgrounds inside a fenced area for a fee and for those that do not wish to pay a fee, will be able to park in a different area.
Among the many changes and improvements to the fair- grounds, the Wright Arena’s name will be changed to Grubb Arena, the natural resource building was renovated with new doors along with staining to the building, and the sheep and goat barn has a new wash rack.
Hughes said last year they had problems with water draining and that the blockage was under one of the barns, to avoid unnecessary construction a new wash rack was installed.
Campsites were also on the improvement list and with its popularity upgrades were made to provide utility hook ups to some areas.
“The demand is there for camping sites,” said Hughes. The fairground is 196 acres with a large amount dedicated to parking as well as campsites both primitive and with hook ups.
Other enhancements to the ground, through the help of volunteers, the fair board added more flowers, mulching and has done some landscaping.
Although many upgrades and improvements were made, Hartford fair did not increase prices.