Storms damage Butler County Fairgrounds just 3 days before fair begins

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

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Storms on Thursday, July 18, 2019, caused damage at the Butler County Fairgrounds.

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Storms on Thursday afternoon caused damage at the Butler County Fairgrounds just three days before the weeklong fair was scheduled to begin.

The damage happened around 4:30 p.m. on Thursday during heavy winds, rain and lightning that caused power outages throughout the region.

Crews had cleaned up much of the damage by Friday morning. The fair begins on Sunday and runs daily through July 27.

Storms caused damage to the Butler County Fairgrounds on Thursday, July 18, 2019, but crews had done much cleaning by Friday morning. DENISE G. CALLAHAN / STAFF
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Storms caused damage to the Butler County Fairgrounds on Thursday, July 18, 2019, but crews had done much cleaning by Friday morning. DENISE G. CALLAHAN / STAFF

Doug Turner, president of the Butler County Fair Board said the fairgrounds are almost back normal this morning after the strong storm knocked down 100-year-old trees, downed power lines, toppled tents and games.

“This one was tilted over on its side and it blew all their stuffed animals all over the fairground,” Turner said about one of the booths that is now upright again.

Only one person was injured.

“We had one injury, one of the concession people ended up with three stitches and a concussion, a tent post hit him,” Turner said. “Other than that, everyone else thankfully was okay. It was a blessing this happened when it did and not during the fair.

A ride and concession stand were completely destroyed. Five huge trees came down, knocking out power to the midway area. They immediately called out Davey’s Tree Service to get rid of them because of the dangerous situation.

“We’re working on it now and should have everything back up and in good shape by the end of the day,” Turner said.

Adam Achterman was in the small animal barn when the storm hit.

“Big winds came in with a bunch of rain and it was blowing in circles inside and outside the barn because the door blew open,” the 12-year-old said it was “a little bit” frightening.

Turner was already on the phone with the insurance company this morning, but it is unclear how much of the damage will be covered.

“We’re in talking stages that’s all I’m going to say about that right now,” he said.

Carl Dearwester, whose family has operated a game at the fair for 121 years, considers Butler County lucky, told our news partner WCPO-TV.

“If this would have happened Sunday, you would have had a lot of people hurt,” he said.

The storm damaged his game, but he can put it back together. Torn tents can be repaired. Like Wells, he was heartened to see the number of people from 4-H clubs, Future Farmers of America and surrounding communities arriving to help Thursday night.

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

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Doug Turner describes storm damage

Credit: DaytonDailyNews