BY KIRK DOUGAL

Times Bulletin Editor

kdougal@timesbulletin

It's time to put on a comfortable pair of walking shoes and work up an appetite for french fries and funnel cakes. The Van Wert County Fair has opened for the 152nd year. But even though the fair has been around for a long time, the Fair Board is still trying new things.

"The results of what people have told us through letters to the editor or to the fair board, everybody told us we needed to make some changes," said Tom Osting, president of the Van Wert County Fair Board. "We've gone out and we've tried to make those changes. We've worked with Kissel Brothers, who have been our ride company for years and years, and they have come to the Van Wert County Fair this year with a dollar per ride or $10 for a ride ticket for all day, which is almost unheard of in this day and age."

Osting pointed out that the fair really isn't for all the adults or businessmen in the community. When it boils right down to it, it's for the youth of the county.

The youth are continuing to work hard and show up when it comes to the 4-H and FFA programs. He said the entries of show animals and other projects for the junior fair is up over last year.

One other change this year is the traditional Sunday evening show will be held on Saturday evening. Mark Lowry is a Christian comedian and vocalist and the positive response to his being named happened immediately.

"If the reports and the tickets sales have anything to do with Mark Lowry, it ought to be a great show," said Osting. "Everybody I have talked to has been really, really pleased that we went with him this year." He explained about how much pre-planning goes into the show including starting to look at acts for next year before the end of this September.

Osting did specifically want to point out two changes on items that have been unchanged for quite a number of years. Senior Citizen Day, with its free admission and entertainment for Seniors, will take place today instead of Tuesday. Also, Veterans Day will move from the last day of the fair to Friday.

But more than anything else, the Fair Board has only one thing in mind.

"It's the 152nd edition," said Osting with a smile. "We want everyone to have a great time."