Organizers always said the Ottawa County Fair would go on, but only a month ago, financial troubles threatened the longstanding tradition.
The fair board had less than $1,000 in the bank, and they needed at least $50,000 to put on a fair. Board members said 2011 was an awful year for weather, which is why they came up $60,000 short in profit.
"This fair had probably the most torrential, horrifying storms and hot weather last year that I've ever seen in my 35 years of my own trailers out here, and longer since I've been a little girl," said Cindy Zaker, a vendor at Cindy's Concessions.
However, the board said not having a fair was not an option because of the 800 children who look forward to the fair every year.
"I like the fair because it helps me learn how to ride horses better, and I just think it's really fun," said Rachael Pollzzie, who was competing with her horse ‘Sly.'
In the last few weeks, an anonymous community member secured a $50,000 loan through Genoa Bank to pay for operating costs. Several other people in the community donated a total of $17,000 to help pay for outstanding bills.
"The fair is a big part of a lot of people in this community. It's a farm community, and the fair is based on the farming industry, so I think that's what has prompted a lot of people to step up and help," said Ron Frank, president of the Ottawa County Fair Board. "Things are looking brighter than they were a month or so ago, but we still have our financial issues."
Part of the stipulation for the loan was purchasing insurance. The board purchased rain insurance for each day of the fair. They will get $15,000 for any day it rains more than a third of an inch of rain over a period of a few hours.
"We don't have to cancel the event, but at least we have that little bit of security," Frank said.
The loan needs to be repaid by September, but contestants, vendors and the fair board are hoping this year will start turning things around.
"It's all about tradition. Whether you're a customer, whether you're me... Fairs are very important," Zaker said.
Copyright 2012 Toledo News Now. All rights reserved.