HICKSVILLE — Senior Citizens Day at this year’s Defiance County Fair will take place Aug. 21, and those who attend will see a new facility for the day’s activities.

This year, a 40- by 60-foot structure will be found in between the merchant’s building and the agricultural hall, replacing the tent which has been there for the last several fairs. The new structure is open on all sides and has been built atop a new concrete pad, which the Defiance County commissioners said was done for the benefit of those who use the area most.

The idea for the new facility came about when Defiance County Commissioners Gary Plotts and Mick Pocratsky served meals during the 2018 fair’s senior day. They believed the concrete platform where the seniors congregated was well past its prime, and that changes were in order.

“We found out that about 750 people went (to the seniors’ area),” said Pocratsky, “and about 500 were served a meal. We wanted to see a safer environment for seniors and veterans at the fair.

“We put up the motion to (install) a new concrete pad, (and then) we decided to put a hard structure above it instead of a tent.”

Work on the project was done by Jaden Yoder of Hicksville. Although initially unfamiliar with his work, the commissioners gave Yoder the go-ahead after receiving positive feedback from some of his other clients, including the Paulding County commissioners (Yoder has done work at the Paulding fairgrounds as well).

Pocratsky points out what he calls “add-ons” to the project, including partial stone pillars and a decorative cupola atop the roof. Extra concrete also has been poured in order to accommodate possible crowd overflow.

The area also has electricity, which, Pocratsky said, can be used for charging mobile scooters.

Another plus, said Pocratsky, is its location near the new restrooms which were accomplished by the Defiance County Fair Foundation last year.

The project’s final costs come to about $150,000, paid for via donations and a lodging tax.

The new structure was officially completed last week, but Pocratsky said it’s not quite done yet. Plans are to install temporary signage and other additions prior to fair week.

“We also plan to do a small ceremony,” Pocratsky added, “dedicating the structure to the two groups that will use it.”

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