Projects on the Grounds

The Van Wert County Fairgrounds, owned by The Van Wert County Agricultural Society, has 96 acres, over 6 miles of walking paths, and over 49 barns, buildings and arenas. Many of these facilities need updated, upgraded and improved to continue to meet the needs of our community. We rely on our fundraising efforts, grants and community donations to make this possible. Below is a short list of current projects and upcoming projects. Ask us how your business can support these initiatives!

Recent Improvements

  • Phase 1 of Pave the Way Pavement Improvement Project
  • Junior Fair Building bathroom and storage expansion and flooring improvements
  • Washington Street Fence Project
  • Junior Fair Horse Arena
  • General electrical upgrades

Upcoming & Future Projects

  • Phases 2 & 3 of Pave the Way Pavement Improvement Project
  • LED Sign @ Gate 2
  • Multiple building improvements and upgrades
  • Livestock building improvements and upgrades
  • Continued electrical and plumbing improvements
  • Grandstand improvements and upgrades

LED Sign @ Gate 2

The Van Wert County Agricultural Society has received two grants from the Van Wert County Foundation totaling $16,375 from the John D. and Nellie S. Ault Memorial Fund. The Ag Society applied for the grants during the 2023 Fall Competitive Grant Cycle. The competitive grant cycle is a biannual process where Van Wert County nonprofits, government, and schools can apply for funding for special projects or programs impacting Van Wert County. The applications submitted are reviewed and voted on by The Foundation’s Board of Trustees with the main focus of the process being how the organization’s project is focused on creating a well-resourced and thriving quality of life for our community.

“This year marks our 168th Annual Van Wert County Fair. We have nearly 50 buildings, barns and arenas that need updated, upgraded and improved to continue to meet the needs of our agriculture and fair community. We rely on our fundraising efforts, grants and community donations to make this possible.” states Mike Poling, Van Wert County Fair Secretary and Fair Manager. “We are grateful for the continued support of the Van Wert County Foundation and look forward to finishing our active projects.”

These funds are allocated for specific projects, one being 2-way LED sign at Gate 2 to help advertise upcoming events and deadlines as well as continued marketing efforts to best communicate information and events to the Van Wert Community.

“Pave The Way” Pavement Project

Project Scope

The Van Wert County Agricultural Society announces continued improvements for the 2023 calendar year. One of the most impactful projects is the complete renovation of the roadways throughout the Fairgrounds. 

“The Ag Society is appreciative of the $200,000 made available by the Van Wert County Commissioners office through the Covid Assistance Fund for this project. These funds will help us repave some of our roads that lead traffic around the perimeter of the grounds. For us to repave everything in Phase 1, we will need to raise an additional $200,000.” states Fair Manager Mike Poling.

The “Pave The Way” campaign has been established to enable individuals, groups/organizations and area businesses of all sizes to make a tax-deductible donation, which will directly fund the remaining roadways on the grounds. The renovation is broken into three phases: Phase 1 includes the perimeter and our most frequented gate entrances, Phase 2 includes some other high traffic areas and Phase 3 will include repaving around the North side of the Grandstand track. An additional $200,000 is needed to complete Phase 1. Any additional funds raised over the $200,000 will go towards the future phases of the roadway improvement project. The numbers on the map indicate the order in which the sections will be completed.

The first phase of the project has an anticipated start date of early May, 2023 with a completion date of early June, 2023.

“These projects and renovations are critical to our success in bringing enjoyable family-friendly events to the Fairgrounds all year long. We are grateful for those donors and community organizations who continually support our improvements.” states Fair Manager Mike Poling.

Making a Donation

Donors wishing to give to the Van Wert County Agricultural Society are encouraged to donate in increments of $250.00. For every $250.00 donation, the donor will be entered into a drawing for two (2) lifetime season passes to the Van Wert County Fair. Checks should be made payable to the Van Wert County Agricultural Society with “Pave the Way” in the memo line.

Fundraising Update


Phase 1: $400,833.00
Phase 2: + $78,175.00
Phase 3: + $125,800.00

Map of Phases

Financial Breakdown

Thank you Tenmile Creek Excavating LLC for working on this project with us.

LED Entry Sign @ Gate 2

The Van Wert County Agricultural Society is seeking corporate sponsors to support funding to install two (2) decorative and informative LED displays at our main entrance (Gate 2) – one facing north, and one facing south.

These lighted displays would be used to communicate and advertise events and opportunities available at the Van Wert County Fairgrounds including but not limited to; marketing 15+ events to the general public, opportunities for food and retail vendors, deadlines for forms and/or ticket sales, directional information, fundraising, sponsor recognition, announcements, etc. The signage would also allow us to communicate important updates regarding 4H, Junior Fair and the OSU extension office. Supporting businesses will have the opportunity to display their logo in emblem form, mounted on the sign.

In mid 2023, the Van Wert County Rotarians had selected this project to be the benefactor of the funds raised during their Rotary Auction. November 11, 2023 the Rotary Auction was held in the Junior Fair Building on the Fairgrounds and the group raised $25,783.42 towards this project.

Total project investment is $80,000 and will be developed by Baldus Company out of Fort Wayne, IN.

Pictured L-R: Ray Thatcher, Office Administrator; Allison Youtsey, Support Staff;  Stephanie Boroff, Vice President, Van Wert County Ag. Society; Adam Ries, President Elect, Van Wert Rotary Club and Auction Co-Chair; Kathy McCollow, President, Van Wert Ag. Society; Mark Verville, President, Van Wert Rotary Club; Aaron Anspach, Auction Co-Chair; Terra Bonifas, Treasurer Van Wert Rotary Club; Penny Parrish,  Auction Committee; and Mike Poling, Fair Manager, Van Wert County Ag. Society.

Junior Fair Horse Arena

In 2023, the Van Wert Area Chamber of Commerce Leadership Class selected the Van Wert County Agricultural Society to be the recipient of their community project. This class, comprised of leaders from area businesses, worked with our Ag Society Board of Directors to determine needs, establish fundraising goals, and then rolled up their sleeves on the installation of the new fencing. The Leadership Class was able to raise $8,500 towards the project, with additional dollars donated by private parties. Thank you to the donors that invested in this project:

Forte Level – $1,000+:

  • First Bank of Berne
  • Central Mutual Insurance Company
  • 4-H Exchange Club

Hoosier Philly Level $251 – $999:

  • John & Emily Rollins
  • First Federal of Van Wert
  • BRSW
  • Ryan Mohr
  • Citizens National Bank
  • Ayers Service Group
  • Berry Gibson & Family
  • Vancrest Health Care Centers
  • Jane Germann Family
  • Triple L Farms
  • Century Trading
  • Harting Farms
  • 24 Carrots 4H Club
  • Industrial Maintenance Team, Inc.

Tapit Trice Level – $250

  • Amber Davis Realtor | Co-Owner Red Oak Realty
  • Clint Myers Excavating
  • Optimist Club of Van Wert
  • Jon & Karen Rollins
  • Alexander & Bebout Inc.
  • AgCredit FLCA
  • Advanced Insurance Group
  • Scott & Marisa Jarvis

Thank you to the 2023 Leadership Class for their hard work and dedication!

  • Zach Army – Advanced Insurance
  • Nicole Baer – Central Insurance
  • Morgan Blankemeyer – Van Wert Federal Savings Bank
  • Delany Eyanson – Citizens National Bank
  • Angie Fahy – Vantage Career Center
  • Dylan Gilbert – Cooper Farms
  • Paige Hemmert – BRSW, Inc.
  • Jennifer Klinker – First Federal of Van Wert
  • Jennifer Longstreth – First Federal Savings and Loan
  • Jeff McIntosh – Van Wert County
  • Whitney Rollins – Van Wert Federal Savings Bank
  • Layne Callow – Tenneco, Inc.
  • Shae Wortman – Kitchen’s Inc.
  • Brandi Eller – Central Insurance
  • Jessica Armstrong – Central Insurance

Junior Fair Building Restrooms

Our Junior Fair Building is currently under construction for improvements. In 2022, The Van Wert County Agricultural Society was awarded $50,000 in grant funds from the Cooper Family Foundation for concrete work on the outside of the building including sidewalks, pad under canopy, and a loading dock on the south end of the facility.

In 2023, $50,000 was granted by the Cooper Family Foundation for continued improvements of the Junior Fair Building. Funds were also distributed to the bathroom renovation project to make the women’s restroom truly ADA compliant and to increase restroom capacity and add storage.

The Van Wert County Foundation also granted $20,000 for the project. Funding for this program was provided by the John D. and Nellie S. Ault Memorial Fund through The Van Wert County FoundationThe John D. and Nellie S. Ault Memorial Fund is an endowment created to support the charitable needs of our community. More information can be found at www.vanwertcountyfoundation.org.

Washington Street Fence Project

Project Scope

In 2021, The Van Wert County Agricultural Society started ground improvements by updating nearly 2,000 feet of fencing along S. Washington Street of the Van Wert County Fairgrounds. 

This project was completed by R&C Fence out of Fort Wayne, Indiana and included 500’ of 6’ high black vinyl coated chain link fence at the South end with a 4’ wide gate; 782’ of 6’ high black vinyl coated chain link fence with 32’ wide double swing gate, and 545’ of 6’ high black vinyl coated chain link fence at the North End. The Washington Street Fence Project total investment was just over $38,000 with only $307.79 being paid out of pocket thanks to our community support and donations.

Over $31,000  was raised by our generous donors towards this project. On behalf of the Agricultural Society, we would like to extend appreciation to the following donors:

  • Mark, Dan, Beth, Mary, Ron and families
  • Aaron Anspach Family
  • Richard & Janice Miller
  • Michael & Kerrie Miller Family
  • Bob & Karlene Priest
  • Nathan Profit
  • Long Lane Acres Shawn Thatcher & Daughters
  • Thad & Deb Lichtensteiger
  • Huggy Bear Campground
  • Van Wert Carts & More
  • Carey Insurance
  • Tisha Fast – State Farm
  • Curt & Julia Schaffner
  • Carrie Davis & Sons Farms
  • Scott & Amber Davis
  • Fred Sprinkles
  • Greg Reinhart
  • Denny & Melanie Miller
  • Hempfling Dairy Farm
  • Seth & Abbie Evans Family
  • Davis Farms
  • John & Jean Ann Auld
  • Ben & Karol Agler
  • John & Pat Kerns
  • Sam & Janet Scott
  • Denney & Pam Kerns
  • Dean Kerns
  • Harold & Connie Dull
  • David & Virginia Jones
  • TJM Transport
  • Kenneth & Arlene Keysor Family
  • Jim & Darlene Kaverman
  • Clark & Gloria Ringwald
  • Craig & Kristy Ringwald & Family
  • IIJ Farms LLC
  • Van Wert 4-H Exchange Club
  • The Family of Gene & Drema Arn
  • Gene & Drema Arn
  • Hugh Waltz
  • Brad & Judy Dotson
  • Helen Ashbaugh
  • Tim & Tammy Hamrick & Family
  • Todd & Jayne Morris
  • M & M Farms – Convoy OH
  • John Larry & Linda S Stutz
  • Rick & Dianna Ashbaugh & Family
  • Macey Ashbaugh
  • John C & Anne Morris
  • Dave & Rose Wherry
  • Richard & Margaret Miller
  • Allmandinger Family Farms
  • Steve & Cindy DuVall
  • Lynn & Sharon Baer
  • Brad & Joyce Mills
  • Lloyd & Ruth Etzler
  • Brian & Michelle Etzler
  • Hempfling Dairy Farm
  • Andy & Katie Drerup
  • Richards Kids
  • VW Auto Supply
  • Landeck Cattle
  • Roger & Judy Davis
  • Daryl “DD” Strickler
  • Bee Gee Realty & Auction Co.
  • Clair & Cindy Harting II
  • Tim & Tammy Hamrick Family
  • Greg & Kim Owens
  • Stanley & Marcia Weldy
  • TJM Transport, LLC
  • The Schnipkes
  • Tom & Sherrill Giessler
  • Randall & Martha Jo Giessler
  • Phil & Carol Giessler
  • John Giessler
  • Robert Bradford
  • Venedocia Lads & Lassies
  • Harold & Janet Merkle
  • Janet & Byron Mohr
  • Bob & Kathy McCollow
  • Mark Mohr
  • Darl Cook
  • Van Wert Service Club
  • Bruce and Julie Kennedy
  • Decatur Church of God

Donations were also made in memory of families and individuals:

  • Dale Foltz, Dale, Hildred Cooper
  • Carl & Beverly Evans Wilber
  • Mary Etzler
  • Richard (Dick) Lewis
  • Don & Linda Bockey
  • Ruth Hermiller
  • Jeff Evans
  • Linda Girod
  • John Schwartz
  • Ed, Pat & Anne Keber
  • Wilbur Hyman
  • Wiley & Beatrice Kerns
  • Kenneth & Edna Kerns
  • Jan & Karen Burket
  • Raymond & Helen Mosier
  • Aaron S. Bidlack Sr.
  • Emmett Gehres
  • Christine “Mason” Stephenson
  • Dean Tomlinson Family
  • Terry J. Gamble
  • Daryl (Doc) Girod
  • William “Wild Bill” R. Evans
  • Justin J. Adam
  • John R. Evans
  • Larry Poling
  • Kenneth Dee Sherer
  • Otis & Betty DuVall
  • Wm & Dora Mae (Myers) Kiracofe
  • Odus, Nannie, Doyle & Jennie Stuckey
  • Allen Whitey Custer
  • Kristie A Wilkin
  • Hugh & Evelyn Pugh
  • John Myers
  • Larry & Kristiae Wilkin
  • Carey & Lillie Weldy
  • John Knippen
  • Old Fashioned Farmers Association
  • Catherine Heitz
  • Ken & Helen Wherry
  • Jeff Evans
  • Ed Williams
  • Fred & Joanne Giessler
  • Ted & Erma Giessler
  • June Taylor

Without the continued support of our community, projects like these would not be possible. The Van Wert County Agricultural Society appreciates the generosity of our community and looks forward to the future.