The 2019 Miami County Fair kicks off

Miami County Fair royalty and Jr. Fair Board members recite the Pledge of Allegiance during opening ceremonies for the 2019 Miami County Fair on Friday.

Mike Ullery | Miami Valley Sunday News

TROY — The 172nd Miami County Fair is underway and began with opening ceremonies on Friday afternoon in the entertainment tent.

Opening remarks were led by Greg Simmons, president of the Board of Miami County Commissioners, who welcomed those in attendance to the fairgrounds.

“The Miami County Fair celebrates promoting agriculture, education, and community involvement through quality entertainment and a family-friendly environment,”Simmons said. “Not to mention all the great fair food.”

Troy Mayor Michael Beamish gave the invocation, which was followed by presentation of the flag by Chrystal Ganger.

Miami County Junior Fair Board President Kacie Tackett led the crowd in singing the Pledge of Allegiance, and the National Anthem was performed by Cove Springs Praise Chorus.

Commissioner Ted Mercer introduced the elected officials in attendance, including Miami County Treasurer Jim Stubbs, State Senator Steve Huffman, Miami County Health Commissioner Dennis Propes, Sheriff Dave Duchak, State Representative Jena Powell, and Mayor Mike Beamish, along with his wife, Ginny, who serves on the Troy City Schools Board of Education.

Representatives for Governor Mike DeWine and Lt. Governor Jon Husted, Senator Rob Portman, and Auditor of State Keith Faber were also in attendance to deliver proclamations celebrating the commencement of the fair.

Fair royalty was also represented during the ceremony, with species royalty — poultry, goat, and beef — introducing themselves.

The 2018 Fair Queen Kelci Cooper announced that she will be attending The Ohio State University this fall to study agroscience education, and 2018 Fair Princess Natalie Parke shared she is officially a second grader at Covington.

Miami County Agricultural Society President Nick Shellenberger gave closing remarks and benediction.

New to the president’s seat this year, Shellenberger thanked the county commissioners for their efforts and cooperation in the planning of this year’s fair.

“I want to thank the commissioners for all the work they’ve been open to with us,” he said. “We want this to be an open place for the people of the county to enjoy; it’s for the kids, it’s for the families.”

Shellenberger also recognized the junior fair board for their efforts.

“Our junior fair board is pretty big this year; there’s actually about 42 members,” he said. “It is really cool to work with these kids; you can just turn them loose and tell them to get it done and they’re there. We’ve got a really neat group of kids right now.”

Shellenberger spoke briefly about changes taking place within the fair, both this year and within future fairs.

“This year, we’re going through a lot of changes with the way we structure things, and this is kind of a kick-off to a rebuilding season,” he said. “You’re going to see some things look a little different around the fair this year, and they’re probably going to look even more different next year.”

Shellenberger noted there are changes coming about in the hopes to offer camping to a larger amount of families and said new types of entertainment will also be featured.

“One of the most important things for us to decide what to do is to get some feedback from you all,” he said.

Shellenberger said he has an “open-door” policy when it comes to speaking with and hearing ideas from the public. He noted his cell phone number will be displayed in multiple areas around the fair and can be found in this year’s fair book.

“The people coming here is what makes the fair,” he said. “It doesn’t matter if there’s one trailer or 100, as long as the people are here enjoying each other’s company and building on those relationships. It’s why we continue on with (the slogan), ‘Where Memories Are Made.’”