OREGON – For Tom Simpson, his first year as president of the Ogle County Fair Board did not go the way he wanted.
Simpson was the president in 2020 when the fair had to be cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“That’s not what I had in mind, but understand the reasons why,” Simpson said of the cancellation. “Today, we have a great team that is going to make your fair experience wonderful!”
The Ogle County Fair runs this year at the fairgrounds on Lime Kiln Road from July 28-Aug. 1.
Simpson, who lives in Davis Junction, is originally from Kentucky and moved to Illinois to work for Motorola Solutions. When he married his wife 21 years ago, her dad was then president of the Fair Board. Simpson started out volunteering and eventually joined the board. He was elected president to follow Harlan Holm, who died in August 2020.
Simpson sat down to answer some questions about the 2021 Ogle County Fair.
Question: After missing a year, how excited is everyone to have the fair back for 2021?
Answer: “Everyone I have talked to is very excited and can’t wait for the fair to come. They miss the smell of the fair food and ability to sit down to listen to live music with their friends and family. They are looking forward to seeing their kids show again.”
Q: How difficult was the decision to cancel last year? Any regrets over that?
A: “Last year was a weird year, there were so many unknowns. Yes, it was very hard for the fair board to make that decision but I believe it was the right one. We want to make sure everyone was safe and healthy.”
Q: What can people expect from the fair this year?
A: “Fairgoers can expect to find their favorite fair food with great entertainment. New for this year is, we are bringing back music in the grandstands on Sunday Aug. 1st. The Jimmys will be performing and it will be a free show.”
Q: How do you go about filling the pretty big shoes – or boots – left by former Fair Board President Harlan Holm?
A: “The passing of Harlan has been felt by everyone but we have got great volunteers that have always been with us. We are able to continue to move forward.”
Q: Why is the fair so important to Ogle County?
A: “The Ogle County Fair is a place to show off your gifts, leadership, community efforts all to have a growing community. Taking home that blue ribbon shows off your hard work: it’s just tradition.”
Q: Anything I didn’t ask that you want to mention?
A: “I would like to say ‘thank you’ to all of the volunteers that help put this great fair on. Without them none of this could happen and memories could not be made.”