JEFFERSON — Persistent wet weather has saturated lawns and swollen area rivers, as well as delayed the refurbishment of the grandstand at the county fairgrounds.

This year’s 173rd county fair, slated for Aug. 6-11, is supposed to bring with it a newly renovated grandstand, according to fair officials.

“The rain and the weather held up the project,” said Darla Vargo, Fair Board secretary. “We’re going to try to get started on the roof this week.”

Before fair time, workers are expected to finish $250,000 worth of improvements to the grandstand, making seating disabled-accessible, replacing the roof and adding a protective weather membrane and all-new wood decking.

Vargo said the scissor lift has arrived at the fairgrounds and workers are just waiting for dry weather.

It rained Monday, and the forecasters say more rain is on the way for Thursday and the weekend, according to the National Weather Service in Cleveland.

Even so, Ashtabula County Commissioner Casey Kozlowski is optimistic.

“Unfortunately, the considerable amount of rain has pushed the work back somewhat, but I’m confident we will get back on track with cooperating weather,” he said.

It was Kozlowski who first encouraged the fair board to apply for the state grant, which required a $60,000 local match.

“We were successful in securing a $250,000 state capital grant to make improvements at the fairgrounds,” he said.

“As many know the grandstands are in need of some work.”

Fair Board President Brian Edelman said the board is excited about the work, as well as a new grandstand show on tap for this year — a monster truck show slated for Aug. 8.

Harness racing will take place at 11:30 a.m. Aug. 8 and 9 on the race track in front of the grandstand. 

Other grandstand attractions will include a rodeo, a youth parade, tractor pulls, truck pulls, horse pulls and the ever-popular demolition derbies.

The Fair Books, containing all the shows and contests, are at the print shop and expected to be in the mail early next week, Vargo said.

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