Fair week

A lot of kids visit the Trumbull County Fair in Bazetta with plans of guzzling lemonade, watching trucks get crushed and taking a ride on the Scrambler. For a group of about 20 teens on the Junior Fair Board, though, the week is about agriculture, and it takes a lot longer to prepare for than tying on a pair of sneakers.

There is a lot riding on their shoulders but they’re taking the stress and preparation in stride. This year’s board is thinking big – bringing in technology, setting up their own entertainment stage, hosting a plethora of competitions and even sponsoring a grandstand performance.

“I’ve got a group this year that’s very tight. If one starts a sentence, another three can finish it,” said Jan Solomon, Junior Fair Board coordinator.

The fair opens Tuesday. On Friday, board members Santino DeFalco, 15, of Brookfield, Katie Yoho, 18, of Leavittsburg, and Colleen Horstman, 17, of Southington, gathered in the small Junior Fair Board office building, tying up any loose ends.

“I think we’re ready,” DeFalco said.

Junior Fair Board members must be between the ages of 13 and 18 and be a member of 4-H, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts or another approved group.

Yoho joined 4-H Trumbull County Equestrians nine years ago and after becoming president of her club decided she should get involved more. For the last two years, she’s been secretary of the board.

“We really start preparing in May,” she said.

This year, the board updated its system for ticketing to computers. Any of the 300 to 400 4-H members who attend the fair will be filtered through the Junior Board’s hands, DeFalco said.

DeFalco is a five-year member of the Brookfield 4-H Friends and joined the Junior Fair Board four years ago. “I started with a hamster … then I went to poultry,” DeFalco said. Now he’s vice president.

The board also is pioneering a Junior Fair Stage, where it will host a talent competition along with other entertainment.

Handling entertainers is one of the big stresses for the board. This year they are sponsoring Redhead Express and helping with the Senior Fair Board’s Savannah Jack performance.

Yoho and Horstman were invited to a class in Columbus to learn how to increase ticket sales through hosting entertainment.

Horstman said she joined 4-H in Wisconsin six years ago. After moving to Ohio three years ago, she joined the Junior Fair Board and Trumbull County Best Shepherds. Now she’s the Junior Fair Board treasurer.

Beyond the fun and entertainment, the fair is all about agriculture for the group.

“All of the animals are off of some sort of property. Whether its a barn or a small farm, it is some form of agriculture. Theses are kids raising animals for people to eat. They are our future farmers,” Yoho said.

Horstman said she shows “basically every animal except horses and cows,” while Yoho shows horses and DeFalco sticks mainly to poultry. They are their own future farmers and seem to have grown up quickly through their experiences on the board.

Solomon, 64, of Lordstown, has been the Junior Fair Board coordinator for 16 years.

“I realized after three or four years as the Junior Fair Board coordinator that it’s one of the best learning labs,” she said. They learn budgets, people skills, and how to maturely respond to situations that don’t go as planned.