OAK HARBOR, Ohio — Ottawa County Fair officials hope the weather cooperates for the 2012 fair, but they aren't taking any chances this year.
They plan to buy catastrophe insurance to afford some protection against unfriendly elements. Last year, the fair sustained a loss of about $60,000 because wind, rain, and heat kept people away.
Jon Overmyer, treasurer of the senior fair board, said he has been pricing protection and will have it in place by the time the fair opens on Monday. The insurance will cover rain, heat, or both during the event, which is to run through July 22 at the fairgrounds, 7880 W. State Rt. 163.
He said the fair board has spent more than $120,000 from its reserves on upgrades in recent years. When last year's fair receipts dropped by 60 percent, the board was strapped for cash, but it obtained $50,000 in bank financing to get back on track.
General admission is $7 and is free for children under 9. A pass good for each day of the fair is $25; a pass for ages 9 to 17 is $20. July 18 is Senior Citizens Day, when seniors are admitted free.
Mr. Overmyer said fair officials are proud of Ohio Idol, a sort of statewide version of American Idol slated for 6:30 p.m. on the fairgrounds track. The top 10 singers of the competition, who were chosen from 4,000 entrants, will perform before moving on to the Ohio State Fair.
Another popular event will be the Open Pickup and Semi Pull at 7 p.m. July 20 on the track. Anyone can enter a pickup or semi rig in a contest to determine which can pull the heaviest load. The Truck and Tractor Pull will be at 7 p.m. the following evening.
The harness racing at 3 p.m. Monday is to feature 150 horses and purses of $40,000 to $50,000.
The Wagon Wheel International Professional Rodeo Association will appear on the track at 8 p.m., July 17.
Entertainment includes the Journey Tribute Band performing a salute to Pat Benatar July 19 at 5:30 p.m. and its usual Journey covers at 9 p.m. The Jay Collins Road Band will play July 21 from 5 to 6:30 p.m. and 7:30 to 9 p.m.
Ron Frank, president of the senior fair board, said the cheerleading competition scheduled for 7 p.m. July 18 will be a first for the fair. Invitations were sent out to area high schools and middle schools.
"This is new," he explained. "There will be an award."