Newest board members have long been involved with fair

Newest board members have long been involved with fair

Image Credit: Laurie Sidle

Families are deeply rooted in the Holmes County Fair, and they start at the top.

The two newest members on the fair’s board of directors have a long history of participating in the fair and are now serving alongside spouses who are active in organizing the five-day event Aug. 8-13 at Harvest Ridge.

Jason Zimmerman, elected in the fall as a Walnut Creek Township representative, is taking the seat left vacant by his father-in-law Craig “Dog” Hershberger, who retired last year after serving as a fair director for over 20 years. Zimmerman joins his wife, Renee, an at-large representative on the board who up until last year served alongside her father.

As far as board members know, the Zimmermans are the first husband and wife team to serve on the board, at least in recent years.

“I was always active in 4-H and enjoy helping at the fair,” Jason Zimmerman said. “I’m here (at Harvest Ridge), so I might as well help where I can.”

Keaton Lorentz is serving his first three-year term on the fair board as a representative of Washington Township.

“I was literally born during the Holmes County Fair,” Lorentz said during a short break from serving as a 4-H skillathon judge, “and have been at the Holmes County Fair ever since.”

Lorentz is the fair’s sheep department superintendent, and his wife, Ella, is the 4-H program assistant for the Ohio State University Holmes County Extension.

As a fair director, Keaton Lorentz said he wants to be able to facilitate and help out where he can. “It’s about the kids,” he said, “and giving back to the fair.”

Lorentz hasn’t forgotten the people that went ahead of him to make his days in junior fair possible. Now, he said, he and his wife, in their various roles at the fair, just want to give back to the kids however they can.

It was the Holmes County Fair and the 4-H program that brought Jason and Renee Zimmerman together as a couple.

A West Holmes High School graduate, Jason Zimmerman grew up on a quarter horse farm in Shreve and showed horses as 4-H projects. Renee Zimmerman grew up on the Walnut Creek dairy farm, Ree-Kay Acres, and showed dairy cattle, dairy feeders and heifers, and market hogs. She was elected to the fair board in 2017 and stepped into her father’s role as superintendent of the dairy department.

Both she and her husband were 4-H Camp counselors and served on the Holmes County Junior Fair board. They married in 2018 in the red Shreiner barn at Harvest Ridge and are living on a small farm in Walnut Creek where they’re raising an old, retired dairy cow from her family’s dairy operation. They have a 3-year-old daughter, Berkleigh, and are expecting a second child.

Kerry Taylor, fair board president, said in referring to the Zimmermans, “We actually have 2 1/2 people serving on the board this year,” along with the other 20 directors.