WAUSEON, Ohio — The Fulton County Fair is back in peak form in 2021, with some 300,000 thousand people expected to come throughout the week to enjoy the animals, rides, and food that are all part of the normal fair experience.
"This year is full bore again, and it's going exceptionally well. Very happy with how it's going," said Dennis Wise, President of the Fulton County Fair Board.
Last year the popular fair was canceled due to COVID-19. In its place, fair fans were able to pick up their favorite fair food to go.
Guests and participants alike say this year's fair is a return of a tradition that runs deep.
"It's a generational thing. I mean I know families that are four or five generations out here," said Wise.
There are examples of this shared tradition everywhere.
Emma Hunt, is showing her horse, Warfield, and she says being a part of the fair helps connect her to the rest of her family.
"My mom showed when she was little, so she kind of likes passing it on to me, and she loves being here every single day with me. My dad, my brothers love it, I love it, and I love seeing others enjoy it too," said Hunt.
Sharing a love for the Fulton County Fair goes back 165 years, back to its founding in 1857.
While no one from that first fair is still alive, their ancestors are still coming to the same fairgrounds.
"We've got some pictures from back in the 1800s of past presidents and directors, and you can resemble their generation today, one hundred and some years later - one hundred and 20-40 years later. The name and just looking at their faces, you can see, 'oh that's so and so," explains Wise.
But For Justin Yee, an attendee at the Fulton County Fair, you don't have to grow up with it for it to become a part of your life.
"My wife is from here, we live in Michigan. Her family is from the Fulton County area and we travel down here every year to go to the fair. And her family has been going to the fair for quite some time now," said Yee.
Regardless of whether your family has a deep connection or you want to make a new tradition, the people attending the fair say it's worth a visit.
"You can't beat the fair food, you can't beat the animals. It's a good home feeling, you know? It's a good comfort," Yee said.
And the fair has the credentials to prove it.
In 2019, the Fulton County Fair was rated the #1 Fair in Ohio by the Ohio Fair Managers' Association.
The fair runs through Thursday, September 9.