WEST UNION, Ohio — It may be in a new location, but after nearly five years in retirement some familiar holiday lights are again on display in Adams County, Ohio.
Ordinarily, the Adams County Fairgrounds only hosts the county fair. For one week in the summer the West Union facility is a bustling attraction with thousands of visitors. For the next 51 weeks, it sits unused, but costly to maintain.
"The county fair no longer made enough money to sustain the maintenance and operational costs of the site," said Steven Caraway.
Bad weather for the entire week this year put the fair operation in the red, said Connie McDonald.
Meetings were held between the Travel and Tourism Bureau, Adams County Fair committees and Adams County Agricultural Society to find a way to help supplement the funds the fairgrounds needs to generate better financial numbers. A Trade Days committee was formed under the direction of McDonald and Caraway.
A Fairgrounds Wonderland concept was conceived. But the question remained on how to decorate the fairgrounds for the event.
Stepping up to the plate was the Rudd family; for 30 years the family was famous for its Christmas lights and displays, many now tucked away in retirement.
The brightly lit holiday attraction items used at the family-run farm in Blue Creek, Ohio, were scaled back in 2000 and this year the Rudd family donated a large portion of the display to the Fairgrounds Wonderland project, said Caraway.
"There was a special day when it opened to honor Carl (Rudd)," said Judy Rudd. "We took Carl up to see them and it was really nice."
Now open to the public on Friday and Saturdays, 7-10 p.m., through Christmas, the wonderland at the fairgrounds features the lighted displays, carriage rides, a Christmas Gallery of Trees decorated by local schools and community organizations and an indoor Trader Days spot for crafters and vendors to sell holiday goods, said Caraway.
"We are not using the entire 3 acres right now, but what we have up is worth the $3 a car load (for admission)," said McDonald.
Inclusion of a variety of crafts, from candlemakers to customized T-shirts, and antiques vendors is intended to give last minute shoppers a unique selection to choose from, said McDonald.
"It will take a little time for the public to realize what they have there; I hope the public gets behind the project because they have done such a beautiful job with what they have. Everything is very neat," said Rudd.
While the lights and vendors may be of interest to adults, one attraction has been included for the young and young at heart.
"Santa will also be on hand to greet the children," said Caraway.
Adams County Fairgrounds is located in West Union, off Ohio 41.
For information call 544-5454.
Contact Wendy Mitchell at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 564-9091, ext. 370.
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