It was in 2008 when the Geauga County Fair Board finalized plans and initiated The Great Geauga County Fair Foundation.
“We set it up so that in the future we would have the needed funds to care for The Great Geauga County Fair (GGCF) grounds and buildings,” said Paul Harris, GGCF secretary. “After all,” he continued, “we are maintaining more than 150 acres and 80 buildings, asphalt on the midway and all of the other roads inside the grounds. It is wonderful to be the oldest fair in Ohio,” he said, “but with that comes a dated infrastructure, oldest sewer lines, oldest water lines, oldest electrical lines, etc., and we don’t want to have to keep raising gate admissions to cover the costs.”
The purpose of the Foundation is to help close the gap between “what is” and the vision of “what could be.” The vision is: to preserve Geauga’s agricultural history, to give young and old alike a venue to display with pride the results of their labor, to showcase for more than 250,000 people the businesses talents and beauty of Geauga County, and to educate an increasing suburban population about the value of farming, rural resources, conservation and environmental awareness.
He went on to explain that the foundation is a stand-alone organization structured as 501(c)3 and it is funded in a variety of methods. “We make a donation to the Foundation each year,” explained Harris. “After the fair is over and the bills are paid, we take a portion of the profit and set it aside.” The Foundation is primarily funded by private donations. “We were very fortunate when it started; the Geauga County Farm Bureau stepped forward the first day we signed the papers,” said Harris, “and gave us a $10,000 donation to get it off the ground. Then we received a couple private donations of several thousands.”
Any gift, no matter the amount is appreciated and the funds are managed by the Cleveland Foundation. Memorial and tribute gifts honor fond memories and carry treasured traditions from one generation to the next leaving a lasting legacy for many years to come. Tribute Gifts can be set up in memory or in honor of a loved one.
When making final arrangements, consider designating memorial donations be made to The Great Geauga County Fair Foundation and send to P.O. Box 402, Burton Ohio 44021. Estate Gifts made in the form of a bequest or life-income gift can provide for you and your family tax benefits and leave an important legacy for the next generation. These arrangements can be set up with your estate planner.
Regular giving of any amount is appreciated. The Geauga County Fair Board can opt to borrow dollars when needed to fund capital projects and they pay back the fund including interest. The year 2022 marks the 200th anniversary of The Great Geauga County Fair. Contributions will go a long way to support, benefit and sustain the heritage of the great granddaddy of Ohio fairs.