LUCASVILLE – The Scioto County Fair is an annual summer tradition which sees thousands of attendees in each of its six days of operation. With so many attendees, maintaining a clean environment for fair-goers is a great concern for the fair board. That concern has been greatly reduced thanks to Scioto County Juvenile Court Judge Alan Lemons; the fair board has one less worry about keeping the Scioto County Fair as clean as possible.
Under the direction of Judge Lemons, members of the Scioto County Court of Common Pleas Juvenile and Probate Division work alongside groups of juveniles working off restitution, fines and community service.
“We have about 30 kids out here this year,” Dawn Keller-Phillips, Judge Lemons Court administrator said. “They’re working community service hours.”
The day starts early for the cleaning crew. Members of the department meet with the juveniles at the court house every morning at 7:00 a.m. From there they are transported to the fairgrounds where they are then assigned their duties.
“We clean the entire fairgrounds,” Keller-Phillips said.
Ron Pendleton, head probationary officer, has been working with those juveniles working off their community service for over 20 years.
“I’ve been with the department for 31 (years) and I’d say about 25 years here, would be my best guess,” Pendleton said.
Their time is not limited to just the six days of operation, as the department along with the juveniles also help prepare for the fair and continue to clean after all the vendors and patrons have left the fairgrounds.
“We start before Monday,” Keller-Phillips said.
Before the cotton candy and funnel cakes are made, the juvenile department is working at the fair, helping to get everything set up for the fair-goers to enjoy everything the fair has to offer.
“We set up all of the livestock pens,” Pendleton said.
Every pen used for the livestock shows during the fair is first set up by the department. This work allows those individuals participating in 4-H a place to house their animals during the fair.
After the fair has concluded late Saturday evening, the department then will do a thorough cleaning of the fairgrounds the week after the fair. They will take Sunday off and then report Monday morning, just as they did while the fair was in progress.
Livestock pens will be taken down and then the crews walk from one end of the fair to the other picking up all trash left behind by vendors and patrons of the fair.
“They pick up the trash from where cars are parked to where the concerts are, whatever the fair board needs,” Keller-Phillips said. “They just let Judge Lemons know and we do it.”
The work performed by the juveniles is anything but glorious, but comes with life lessons.
“Judge Lemons believes that they need to give back to the community,” Keller-Phillips said. “They have to work out their community service.”
Those participating in the community service work are subject to various rules as well as being expected to show proper etiquette.
“We make them obey rules out here, they are respectful and they help clean up,” Keller-Phillips said.
Starting at 7:00 a.m., a typical work day at the fair will last until one or two in the afternoon, when the workers are then transported home. They work six days a week, taking off Sunday, until all work has been completed.
“They’re getting at least six or seven hours each day,” Pendleton said. “That depends too on when the fair is busy, there’s a lot more trash and when it’s down there’s not as much to do.”
Pendleton added on those down days, the crews work even harder to keep the fair as clean as possible.
Reach Michael Hamilton at 740-353-3101, ext 1931, or on Twitter @MikeHamilton82.