Grosjean earns state award for fair service

Grosjean earns state award for fair service

Now that Ron Grosjean has retired from his position as a Wayne County Fair director, he will be able to spend time with his display of antique farm equipment at the fair. He is pictured here with the first Oliver tractor he had restored for his collection, which he bought in 1971.


Ron Grosjean is always finding ways to make the best better. As a former 4-Her, the Wooster man has lived out that 4-H motto in his 43 years as a Wayne County Fair director.

His efforts recently earned him the Director’s Award for Excellence and Innovation at the 97th Ohio Fair Managers Association Convention in Columbus. The director’s award honors individuals for their progressive ideas and actions to improve and strengthen their fairs. Grosjean was singled out for the special honor among 48 individuals and organizations named as Outstanding Fair Supporters. Ohio Department of Agriculture director Dorothy Pelanda presented the award.

Grosjean, who retired as a director following last year’s fair, said he was honored to receive the award. He said serving on the board is a lot of fun but also a lot of work.

Without the responsibility of directing the fair, Grosjean looks forward to watching his grandchildren exhibit their projects and spending time with his fair display of antique farm equipment. He'll also see more of what has motivated him to serve all these years.

“I love to see the kids show and develop that sense of pride which will stay with them the rest of their lives,” Grosjean said.

Providing those exhibitors with the barns and show rings they need has been a big part of Grosjean’s work as a fair director.

“I have seen 50% of the fair’s facilities remodeled, updated and some replaced over the past 43 years,” he said.

One of the most significant updates was the completion of a $3.4 million project to add a 14,080-square-foot livestock building and 26,100-square-foot event center.

During the center’s ribbon-cutting ceremony at the opening of the 2019 fair, the board surprised Grosjean by unveiling a plaque dedicating the building to him. It was a way to thank him for his family’s donation that put the event center over its fundraising goal on the final day of the previous year’s fair.

In 2010 Grosjean and four other fair directors formed the nonprofit group, Friends of Wayne County Fair, to help fund fair projects and develop an agricultural museum. As a result the Buckeye Agricultural Museum and Educational Center houses more than 3,200 artifacts and relics of the past at its Old Lincoln Way location across from the fairgrounds. Grosjean serves as president of the museum’s board of directors.

His other achievements as a fair director include the following:

—At Grosjean’s request in 1980, the board established a committee to handle parking and security at the fair. Grosjean chaired the board for the next 37 years.

—Grosjean helped start the shuttle wagon service to haul visitors back and forth from the main grounds to the parking area.

—Grosjean was instrumental in developing a new mobile stage that could easily be pulled around the track and into position for the grandstand shows.

—During his tenure the board added new sheep, steer and horse barns and a riding arena.

—Grosjean was part of a committee to revamp some areas of the fairgrounds including the grandstand, making them more accessible to the handicapped.

—Grosjean worked with groups that could provide horseback riders to assist with parking cars at the fair.

Through it all, he said, “I am proud of the fact that the Wayne County Fair board has been good stewards of its money and kept a positive mind-set.”

A favorite memory, he said, was seeing the sold-out crowd pack the grandstand for the Crowder band at the 2021 fair.

“Ron’s goal has always been to make the best of what is available,” said Wayne County Fair director Tom Stocksdale, who nominated Grosjean for the award. “This theme is evident in his lifelong commitment to his family, the fair and the community.”

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