LISBON, Ohio (WKBN) – Inside the Columbiana County fairgrounds, a constant flow of golf carts was taking people to the newest attraction on Friday.
“This dream has become a reality,” Columbiana County Fair ex-officio Don Humphrey Jr. said.
At the center of the county fairgrounds is a new 2,500-seat grandstand. Those who donated were honored Friday for their help in making the project happen.
One of those donors was Neil Zehentbauer.
“It’s just awesome. It’s a huge improvement,” Zehentbauer.
The grandeur of the old grandstand will always have a special place in the hearts of those in Columbiana County. It has been a fixture of the community since the mid-1800’s.
In recent years, the framework became an issue.
“The structure had become antiquated, uncomfortable and literally unsafe,” Humphrey said.
The project for the new grandstand would not have gone as seamlessly without the help of Cincinnati businessman Matt Hughes. He played a major roll in helping the fair board raise hundreds of thousands of dollars.
“We got very lucky,” Hughes said.
Before coming to Lisbon to work on the project, Hughes was referred by a colleague.
“He said ‘I’ve got a group up in Lisbon, Ohio, Columbiana County.’ And I said ‘where?’,” Hughes said.
After he got to work, the county showed Hughes what the rural Ohio county is all about.
“Everybody does something germaine for the fair,” Hughes said.
Now that the new and improved grandstands are up, the fair board can prepare for the start of the 169th Columbiana County fair, which begins on Monday.
“We will remember it with nostalgia, the old one, and we will enjoy the functionality of this one,” Humphrey said.
The grandstand had a price tag of approximately $900,000 and will hold 1,100 more people than the old one.