County fair kicks off in Lisbon

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The 168th Columbiana County Fair is officially open for business at the fairgrounds in Lisbon. Opening ceremonies and a ribbon cutting were held Monday night.

This year, Sharen Cope takes the reigns as the first female Fair Board President in fair history.

“I’m very proud of that fact. That the rest of the board put their faith in me,” said Cope. “I’m making my best effort to lead them this year.”

Cope was shocked and surprised as Columbiana County Commissioners handed her a $20,000 check, the largest gift given by a Board of Commissioners in the county’s history. The money will be used to kick off a campaign to replace the grandstand which is more than 100 years old.

“We’ve had some good fortune, as many know, in the oil and gas industry. And we felt that maybe we could be good partners and give something back to the community,” said Columbiana County Commissioner Mike Halleck.

The crowning of this year’s 4-H fair king and queen was held during the opening ceremonies. Crestview graduate Curtis Veiock and Beaver Local’s Melinda Richey are the new royalty.

“Farming and agriculture are the core of our society,” said Richey. “Not a lot of people realize how many people are in the agriculture business and the farming business.”

“And I’ve often said that you don’t see very many farm kids going to court,” said Halleck. “We want to continue to support our farmers in our community.”

Also during opening ceremonies at the Columbiana County Fair, the Ohio Department of Agriculture honored a pair of family farms in operation for more than 200 years.

There are 64 Bicentennial Farms across the Buckeye State and now two Columbiana County farms hold the distinction, the Bowman family farm in Elk Run Township and Hively’s Highland Farms in Unity Township.

Six generations of Hively’s have keep their cattle farm running since 1807.

“This is our 65th year to be showing cattle,” said owner John Hively. “I was nine years old when we started showing, and we continued on, we’re the oldest exhibitor here, and then today with that award we head, we’re the oldest farm in Columbiana County.”

It’s a big week at the fair for the Hively family. Tuesday. Hively’s father, Curtis F. Hively, will be inducted into the Columbiana County Agricultural Hall of Fame at the Fairgrounds.

The theme of this year’s fair is “Wheel on Down.” The fair runs July 29 through August 4. For more information and a schedule of events, click here.

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