The Delaware County Fair has been an area institution for 123 years, so when a Delaware County town supervisor admitted during a county board meeting that he didn't know what the fair was, it elicited an incredulous reaction from the other board members.
Franklin Supervisor Don Smith proposed a resolution Wednesday to donate $5,000 to help rebuild the 4-H horse barn that the Delaware Valley Agricultural Society lost in an arson fire on the fairgrounds last fall.
Smith said he was in favor of the donation but noted that when the fairgrounds needed new cow barns, the farmers who exhibited cows provided most of the donations. Smith said he would like to see the people who use the horse barns donate more to the rebuilding effort.
Masonville Supervisor Craig DuMond said he has four boys that are active in 4-H, but he couldn't think of anything that is a better generator of tourism and economic development than the Delaware County Fair.
"It's wonderful that we still have kids who want to be part of our right agricultural heritage," DuMond said.
Sidney Supervisor Bob McCarthy then shocked the room with his comment. "I don't know what this is," McCarthy said of the fair. "What do they do there?"
One by one, the supervisors began to convey the importance of the time-honored summer fair and the role the fairgrounds play in other events.
"This fair means something irreplaceable to this county," Meredith Supervisor Keitha Capouya said, noting that she remembers attending the fair as a child when she visited her Delaware County relatives.
Walton Supervisor Bruce Dolph added: "The fairgrounds are used for events throughout the year. It's a very active part of the town of Walton, and fundraisers held there benefit the entire county."
Middletown Supervisor Len Utter said, "The fair is a springboard for our youth into adulthood."