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The 155th annual Portage County-Randolph Fair opened its six-day run Tuesday morning to warm, sunny skies and the promise of fun.
Cutting the opening day ribbon were family members of Dave Moulton, a well-known teacher, coach, farmer and volunteer from Rootstown who died Nov. 29, 2012. Cutting the ribbon were Jeremy and Mindy Moulton and oldest son, Jason Moulton.
Jeremy said his father, who taught vocational agriculture at Maplewood Career Center in Ravenna, was deeply involved with Future Farmers of America and other groups at the fair.
Dave Moulton also started the pedal tractor races held every fair for youngsters, Jeremy recalled.
Among the opening events was the crowning of the 2013 Junior Fair king and queen.
Dale Miller of Atwater, son of Denise and Dave Miller, was crowned king and Rachel Park of Rootstown, daughter of Robert and Rebecca Park, was crowned queen.
Both Miller and Park are members of the Junior Fair Board. Miller has served as goat superintendent and Senior Citizen Day volunteer at the fair. He was his class president at Waterloo High School and was active in student council, basketball, football and track.
Park has participated in dog shows, goat shows, small animal shows at the fair. At Rootstown High School, she was active in Spanish club, student council, drama, track, was a standardized patient at Northeast Ohio Medical University in Rootstown and a camp counselor at Camp Ohio.
Crowning the new fair royalty were the 2012 Fair King and Queen, Tyler Phelps and Maggie Battista, both of whom told the pair to enjoy their year.
Battista said it was "the best year I've ever had." She said she got to see fairs across the state as part of her year as queen, and she placed third out of 66 for the Ohio State Fair Queen, "which I guess isn't that bad," she said to laughter from the audience.
Both Phelps and Battista lauded the junior and senior fair boards and the untold volunteers who put on the annual local fair.
"Thank you to everyone who makes this fair go round," Phelps said, "and to the people who work in 4-H and the fair. You make younger people who they are."
"We truly have the best fair in Ohio," Battista said.
Phelps advised the new royalty to take time to enjoy the week of the fair. "You're going to blink and it's going to be over," he warned.
The fair runs through Sunday at the fairgrounds off S.R. 44 in Randolph in southern Portage County. Today is Agriculture Day and tonight's grandstand event is the demolition derby starting at 7:30 p.m.
General admission is $5 and children ages 6 to 11 are $1. Children under 6 are free. A week's adult pass is $15, and $4 for children 6 to 11.
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