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MILLERSBURG -- After several months of delays, the Holmes County Fair Board is happy to see the grandstands finally going up, especially since there is now a good reason to get them finished in time for this year's fair.
The Holmes County Fair board agreed to enter into a contract with the Fraternal Order of Eagles, No. 2418 to bring the Little River Band to the Holmes County Fair.
The Australian borne soft rockers from the 1970s who have topped the charts with such smash hits as "Cool Change," "Take It Easy on Me," "Reminiscing," "Lady," "Happy Anniversary" and "Lonesome Loser," will be the headlining event on Saturday, Aug. 12, at the Holmes County Fair.
"First thing, we want to thank the Eagles very much for their offer. For years, the No. 1 complaint or suggestion we've heard is why can't we have any better entertainment. That won't be the case anymore," said Fair Board President Kerry Taylor. "That comment comes from people who don't understand how expensive it is to do that, and we didn't have the facilities to do that."
With the proposed grandstands at the new fairgrounds at Harvest Ridge, the facilities are no longer a question.
"Your offer actually lit a fire under us. Our plan was, since we didn't get the grandstands done last year, and they're working on them now, and we're not quite sure how it's all going to shape up," Taylor said. "We were probably going to wait until 2018.
"But, the amount of strides we made on this property in the eight to 12 weeks leading up to the fair this year to get it ready, finishing the grandstands and doing things we need to get it ready, seems like pretty minor stuff at this point, compared to last summer," he continued. "We are definitely prepared to partner with you to make this thing work."
The Eagles are going to contract and pay for the Little River Band. Whatever the contract ends up being, along with associated expenses, they will make a charitable contribution to the Holmes County Agricultural Society to cover all the costs.
Taylor said some details still need to get ironed out, such as stage rental, security and other minute details.
Shane Cultice of the Fraternal Order of Eagles said he has been in contact with the booking agent of the Little River Band, they have held Saturday, Aug. 12, as the date of the program.
"We have rooms, food, everything prepared for them," Cultice said. "Everything is taken care of across the board."
The band Bad Stone has been lined up as an opening act, and another band, Felt, would also be interested.
"We just have to cross the T's and dot the I's. We basically just have to sign it and send it in," Cultice said. "I'd like to go through this contract and make sure nothing is an issue that we have to address. The band is very flexible."
The Fraternal Order of Eagles is glad to be partnering with the Fair Board for this event.
"The Little River Band is family oriented and they'll appeal across the board," Eagles President Eric Smeeny said. "We really appreciate what you guys have done here and we're happy to work together with you."
Parking will be an issue to be worked out, as some additional spaces used for pit parking for tractor pulls, could serve as premier parking locations for the concert.
Ticket sales, seating and prices are also yet to be determined. The concert will require separate admission from the fair ticket.
"Our grandstand is long (300 x 32 or something like that), which for a tractor pull is fantastic," Taylor said. "For a concert, there would be people way out on the wings, and I personally don't feel it's fair for people out on the sides paying the same as people in the center. I'd like to break down the seating costs. That's one of the minor details we still have to work out."
Corporate seating and other options were discussed as well as parking.
"The logistics will all be worked out," Taylor said.
Cultice has already spoken with area radio stations about advertising.
"We're looking at more than seven months of promoting this, and logistically, that's awesome," he said.
The board unanimously approved the venture.
"I think Kerry is excited. Now he's got a reason to get these grandstands done," Cultice said. "I think it will be good for the community as a whole. People should really enjoy this show."
Reporter Kevin Lynch can be reached at 330-674-5676 or firstname.lastname@example.org.