Ohio State Fair

The Ohio State Fair is back in all its Midway glory at the fairgrounds of the Ohio Expo Center July 27-Aug. 7. Beyond the food, rides, parades and shows, the heart of the fair is agriculture. Livestock shows, 4-H exhibits and so much more will all be a part of the experience.

Helping visitors find their way through it all are members of the Ohio State Fair Junior Fair Board. These young men and women aged 16-20 from throughout the Buckeye State apply for positions which will put them in direct contact with visitors at the event. The junior fair board members have to be knowledgeable about all aspects of the fair, including the livestock shows as they help both judges and patrons alike throughout the fair.

Ohio State Fair Junior Fair Board members are selected to represent their respective youth organizations. Serving as ambassadors for 4-H, FFA, Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, Farm Bureau, Grange and Tech Ed, they share their experiences and emphasize the value of the Junior Fair with patrons.

Two representatives from Ohio Farm Bureau are Liberty Center High School junior Adrianna Meyer of Henry County and Lima High School alumni Zachary Zwiebel of Allen County, who is currently attending Joliet Junior College in Illinois on a scholarship. His focus is on ag business and animal science.

Zachary Zwiebel
Zwiebel

This is Meyer’s first year serving on the junior fair board, and Zwiebel’s second, though admittedly last year wasn’t a normal fair year, he said. There were livestock shows that family and judges could attend, but no Midway. No games. No crowd.

“There were a lot of unknowns last year,” he recalled. “No one really knew what a COVID fair would look like. You had to try to solve problems you didn’t necessarily have the answer to and think on your feet.”

He’s looking forward to interacting with visitors at the state fair this year in a more traditional way, including working in the Land & Living Exhibit with Farm Bureau. Zwiebel was a participant in the first year of ExploreAg camps and also participated in the Ohio Youth Capital Challenge, along with being active in numerous community and ag-related activities in high school and after graduation.

“The Ohio State Fair draws Ohioans from all around the state with wildly different backgrounds and experiences,” he said. ”I love the way the Ohio Farm Bureau bridges the gap between exhibitors in Voinovich to fairgoers attending, maybe even just for the rides. I have learned the importance of (advocating for agriculture) by attending a city school district while having an ag background.”

Adrianna Meyer
Adrianna Meyer

Meyer grew up on a farm and has been very active in 4-H and FFA throughout her life. She showed sheep and goats for years and has served in many leadership positions in her 4-H chapter.

In her first year on the junior fair board, she wants to soak it all in.

“I’m looking forward to all of it,” she said. “From the 4-H projects there every single year to learning how it’s put together behind the scenes.”

Meyer’s career ambition is to become an Extension educator in 4-H youth development and looks forward to spending time ”bridging the gap of consumer engagement” in regard to agriculture while fulfilling her junior fair board duties. She wants to inspire the next generation of board members.

“I want to give back to the Ohio State Fair because it has done a lot for me, such as providing awards and premiums for projects and contests I participated in, and most importantly it’s been a gateway to many friendships I’ve gained,” she said. “I aspire to be a person that someone can look up to. Serving as a member of the state junior fair board allows me to guide other youth to the same opportunities that I had provided to me.”

Online Extra

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Meet Ohio Farm Bureau’s Ohio State Fair interns

Having opportunities to attend leadership institutes, advocate for rural Ohioans on the state and national level, facilitate young ag professionals events, and serve in a variety of leadership positions have helped my skills grow exponentially.
Sara Tallmadge's avatar
Sara Tallmadge

Ashland County Farm Bureau

Growing our Generation
Labor has always been an issue, mainly because we are a seasonal operation. So that's a challenge finding somebody who only wants to work three months out of a year, sometimes up to six months.
Mandy Way's avatar
Mandy Way

Way Farms

Business Solutions
If it wasn't for Farm Bureau, I personally, along with many others, would not have had the opportunity to meet with our representatives face to face in Washington.
Austin Heil's avatar
Austin Heil

Hardin County Farm Bureau

Washington, D.C. Leadership Experience
I was gifted the great opportunity through an Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation Youth Pathways grant to run a series of summer camps here. That really expanded my vision of what ‘grow, maintain, sustain and explain’ could actually be.
Jim Bruner's avatar
Jim Bruner

Mezzacello Urban Farms

Farming for Good
I see the value and need to be engaged in the community I live in, to be a part of the decision-making process and to volunteer with organizations that help make our community better.
Matt Aultman's avatar
Matt Aultman

Darke County Farm Bureau

Leadership development
So many of the issues that OFBF and its members are advocating for are important to all Ohioans. I look at OFBF as an agricultural watchdog advocating for farmers and rural communities across Ohio.
Mary Smallsreed's avatar
Mary Smallsreed

Trumbull County Farm Bureau

Advocacy
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