Karen Weber Ilhardt showed hogs at the Allen County Fair as a 4-H member. After high school, she graduated from Ohio State University and not long after that, found a new home in Clermont County when she became the 4-H Educator.
She held that job from 1986 to 1988 when she became a Home Economics teacher in the Goshen School District and also the cheerleading advisor for CNE. Even though she loved working with children in her two jobs, the fair was in her blood and it wasn’t long before she joined the staff in the Senior Fair office.
Over the years, she helped in various ways, the most recent being in charge of Dept. 4, the Art and Needlework Department. That was a natural fit for her since needlework was one of her passions. Further ties to the fair include her future husband (Danny) serving on the Fair Board for a short time and her brother-in-law (Donald) being a 4-H/FFA member as a youth and current exhibitor in the Open Beef Show.
Her sudden death on May 23, 2018 leaves a void that will be hard to fill while leaving behind a grieving husband, brothers and a sister in Lima, her brother-in-law, and many caring students and friends.
For those of us who are involved in the Fair, her beautiful smile, her kindness, and sense of humor along with her help in the office will be greatly missed and will be difficult to replace. Heaven will love her, just as we did.
The Ohio Department of Agriculture has recognized Jim Parker of Batavia as Clermont County Outstanding Fair Supporter for 2017.
Jim was instrumental in generating financial support for the Fair’s new Holman Motors Livestock Complex.
He is pictured with the Fair Board Vice
President, Eric Wehrum, who presented him with the certificate, signed by both
Governor John Kasich and ODA Director David Daniels.
These are former board members and certain community members who are still living and who have been honored by the Board for their contributions to the growth and operations of the county fair and fairgrounds
AL ISON—Al first worked for the Fair Board
as racing secretary. In the mid ‘60s, he
was elected to the Board and served until the mid 80’s. In addition to serving on many
committees, he was Board President for 7 years. While President, the fairgrounds expanded to offer more year round
events rather than just being open fair week and the week before and after.
ALAN MOTTA—Representing Washington Township, Alan headed the gate committee, and as an attorney, was able to aid us in legal matters.
BEA FAUL—Bea was a mainstay on the Board for 27 years. In addition to her 4-H Club, the 4-H Patriots, and her work with Car Teens, Bea headed up a 4-H Dining Hall which served full meals during the fair. She also took charge of many committees, including Department 4 (Art & Needlework,) Dept. 7 (Poultry,) and Dept. 9 (Rabbits,) photography, senior day, pedal pull, fair book, etc. In 2007, she was elected Board President where she served two terms. She represented Miami Township. She received the coveted Outstanding Fair Supporter by OFMA (Ohio Fair Managers Association.)
BILL SCHARBER—Bill served on the fair board for 18 years. He helped with security, concessions, cheerleading (where he was a big hit,) sponsorships, plus many more. He served as Board President for 6 years and also was named by OFMA as Outstanding Fair Supporter.
BILL WIEDERHOLD—Bill was one of the hardest working Board members to serve on the Board. It seemed like there was no job, large or small that he refused to tackle. He was upbeat and seemed to be always in a good mood which in turn made those around him feel good as well. Not surprisingly, he also served two years as President.
BOB PROUD—Bob has been instrumental in developing and continuing our recognition of Clermont County veterans. For many years, he has arranged swearing in ceremonies for new recruits, special programs for our vets and gold star families. Current members of the armed forces as well as veterans can attend the fair each year free of charge.
CARL HARTMAN—Carl served as County Engineer for many years and was responsible for an excellent relationship between the Engineer’s office and the Fair Board. He allowed us the use of heavy equipment which was used to ready the track for the tractor pulls and the demolition derby. Current engineer, Pat Manger, has continued that working relationship.
EDNA MAE EMERY—Edna Mae, very recently deceased, had been in charge of the Fair Board Elections for over 30 years. She oversaw the poll workers and monitored the election to the satisfaction of the Ohio Department of Agriculture. These elections are always held on the last day of the fair.
FRAN RAPP—From Pierce Township, Fran is a former Board member who worked both with the tractor pulls and horses. He designed and built the horse arena as well as serving on the buildings and grounds committee.
HAROLD HERRON—During his 23 years with the fair, Harold served in two different positions-- Executive Director and Executive Secretary. He was responsible for the day to day running of the fair as well as off season activities such as boat and camper winter storage. Many of the current facilities on the grounds were built during his tenure. The Grandstand was rebuilt, and the Agricultural Center and the Multi Purpose building were added. He brokered the deal where the Ag Center, which was valued at $1,000,000, was purchased for $1. In addition, new camping spots, all with electric and some with water, were created to handle the overflow.
JACK GRASER—Although Jack worked tirelessly with many committees, including the truck and tractor pulls and heading up the Cornhole Tournament, Jack will be remembered most as the director who started our fall camp outs. While there were only 13 campers the first year, we now host over 150 campers each year. He represented Monroe Township.
JEANNE ZURMEHLY—Jeanne served as our Executive Treasurer for 10 years. During her tenure, the restrooms in the back of the fairgrounds were built. She started a ‘Barn Fund’ for the donations the newly formed Friends of the Fair were receiving as well as other contributions.
JOE SPEEG—Former Board member who also served as President. Joe’s interests included structure and organization such as developing five and seven year plans for the Board. Joe also created Christmas in the Country during which the fairgrounds was open in December with light shows, a train display, crafts and a baking contest. Joe is from Jackson Township.
JOHN PUCKETT—Retired now, John served as liaison between the Board and the Owensville Fire Department for the Fireman’s Parade as well as being in charge of the First Aid Booth under the grandstand.
LORETTA BLEVINS—Loretta has never missed a fair except the year she was born. The only reason she missed that one is because she was only one week old and her mother had been told to stay in bed for 10 days after giving birth. This year will be Loretta’s 83rd fair. She also helps with our fair elections.
RICK CRAWFORD—Rick is the Fair Historian. He has completed research on our fair and helped write a book about the fair during the 150th fair celebration.
ROBERT YEAGER—A banker by trade, Bob is a former Board member whose main responsibility was to keep a watchful eye over our finances as fair treasurer and working with the gates.
SHIRLEY GIBBONS—Shirley stepped into the role of
Concession Manager when her husband, Bill, passed away in the early 1990s after
serving on the Board for 18 years. Shirley was also our Rental Manager, thus booking the fairgrounds for
weddings and other events throughout the year. Ironically, she served as a Board member for 18 years as well. Shirley and Bill represented Goshen Township. Shirley was awarded a plaque and was given
special recognition by GOSA (Greater Ohio Showman’s Association) for her dedication
and work with the professional vendors who visit our fair each year and was
named Outstanding Fair Supporter by OFMA. Bill was previously honored in OFMA’s Hall of Fame for his contributions to our
TIM RODENBERG—Sheriff Rodenberg was our ‘go to’ person when it came to security on the fairgrounds. The Board worked with the Sheriff’s Dept. every year to provide deputies to oversee the fair.
WENDELL WEHRUM—Wendell stepped into the role of Board Member from Franklin Township when his father, Ralph, retired after serving 50 years. Wendell took over some of his father’s responsibilities and added his own. He oversaw Department 5 (Flowers) and Department 6 (Vegetables, Herbs, and Seeds,) the bicycle races, and the Truck and Tractor Pulls. He also served as Board President two years.
After 18 years on the Fair Board, Bill Scharber decided to retire. Bill held many roles on the Board including President for six years, and helping with rides and games, security, budget and finance, pedal pull, cheerleading, risk management, safety, and insurance, first aid and fire protection, sponsorship, front office, nominating/new member committee, golf cart safety, and the beverage sales committee to name the most recent ones.
It is with much sadness that we bid adieu to a good friend and a great board member and wish him the best as he moves forward to new endeavors.
Bill is shown with current president Todd Slone and immediate past president Dan Hodges.