Ashland County fair ride

This was a scene from the 2019 Ashland County Fair.

ASHLAND — It's fair month in Ashland.

The pandemic will take a back seat this year as traditional activities like grandstand entertainment, rides for kids, tractor pulls and demolition derbies resume on the Claremont Avenue fairgrounds. 

The activities begin Sept. 19 with a tractor pull at 6:30 p.m.  

The festivities continue with a harness race at noon on Sept. 20 and a concert featuring Sara Evans at the grandstand. County Line will open for Evans at 6 p.m. on Sept. 21.

General fair activities will conclude on Sept. 25 with a demolition derby starting at 6 p.m.

The junior fair kicks off Sept. 19 with a steer showmanship event at 9 a.m. and livestock sales will occur at the coliseum throughout the week. For a full junior fair event schedule, click here.

Ashland County Fair Board Secretary Cathy Rice said everyone is excited for the return of a full fair, which typically brings more than 90,000 people together throughout the week.

"We're happy to have a full fair again," Rice said. "From the vendors to the exhibitors and fair board. We look forward to having everyone come out and enjoy the sights and sounds of the fair.

The Ashland County Fair was limited in 2020 to only the junior fair activities because of COVID-19 restrictions from Gov. Mike DeWine.

Rice said things will look a bit different, but that they're "all good changes." 

"We have a lot of favorites that will be here and returning, but also several new vendors that will be worth coming out for," she said, adding Sara Evans, the fair's grandstand act, is not one people will want to miss.

Tickets to see Sara Evans start at $30. Click here for more information.

Rice said the fair will follow state guidelines when it comes to curbing the spread of COVID-19. She said the fairgrounds will have several hand sanitizing stations and facial coverings will be available at the front gates "for anyone upon request." 

"I just think it's absolutely great that we're able to have a full fair, not just a junior fair like last year," said Ashland County Commissioner Michael Welch. "I think it is so important for the community to have a gathering point at least once a year."

He said there are certain people from the community he only sees when he and his family attend the fair. Welch, a dairy and grain farmer, was involved with junior fair growing up. 

"My family continues to do that. And I just know the kids really look forward to it and even big kids, like my father who's 91. He goes everyday, as long as the weather is permitting," Welch said.