COLUMBUS — A long-time fair board member recently received statewide recognition for his contributions to the Henry County Fair.
John Rettig of Malinta was selected by the Henry County Fair Board for recognition at the 95th Ohio Fair Managers Association annual convention for outstanding service to their local fairs, and he was recognized along with 40 other individuals from across the state. In addition, he was selected as one of seven individuals to receive the Director’s Award for Innovation and Excellence, which is presented for progressive ideas and actions to improve and strengthen their fairs.
“It means a lot to me, but I also take it with the thought that it’s not mine alone,” Rettig said. “The rest of the fair board and the volunteers do so much for that fair. They’re all a part of it.”
A member of the Henry County Fair Board for 40 years, Rettig said he was first approached about representing Monroe Township on the fair board by two individuals on separate occasions and decided to pursue the position.
“I’m glad I did,” Rettig said, adding that he was serving on a couple of other boards at that time, but now solely focuses on the fair board.
Rettig said he served as chairman of the Grounds Committee for many years and also worked on the Tomato Festival Committee and recently started helping with horse races.
“I’ve been interested in the fair overall,” he said. “Whatever needs to be done, I’m willing to help out.”
Rettig recalled numerous projects which have been completed throughout his time on the board, including new buildings such as a horse barn, the rabbit building and the ag hall, plus infrastructure improvements such as the overhaul of wiring which has been done in recent years.
“In 40 years, there’s been a lot done,” he said, adding those projects are the result of numerous volunteers and all of the fair board members.
Rettig noted the award was presented during a convention for fair boards throughout the state.
“At the convention, you see the problems the other fairs encounter,” Rettig said. “We have issues from time to time but nothing like what some of the others have.
“I think it’s because the board works together,” he continued. “If someone needs something, they get help.”
Rettig is currently a member of the fair board, although he said he may be wrapping up his service in the near future.
“I appreciate everybody’s support that they give me and the fair. I want to thank everyone for that,” Rettig said. “We have good coverage from local broadcasters and writers, we appreciate that. That all adds into what makes the fair.”
Josh Rettig, the president of the Henry County Fair Board and John’s son, said the board’s selection for the award was based on John’s many years of service.
“What he’s done, and what all of our board members do, ensures the fair’s able to keep going for the next year,” he said. “We’re grateful to John for his service, and we’re grateful to anyone who has supported our fair.”
In 2019, John Rettig was inducted into the Henry County Agriculture Hall of Fame in recognition of his farming with his family and 40 years of dedication to the Henry County Fair Board. After graduating from The Ohio State University and serving during the Vietnam War, he farmed with his father, R.G. Rettig. He also operated approximately 1,300 acres of farmland with his brother, Mark, and stressed no-till and conservation tillage practices.
The 2020 Henry County Fair will be Aug. 13-20.