Henry County Fair – A Step Back in Time

Since 1976 the Henry County Historical Society has been an active participant in the festivities during the Henry County Fair. It is a partnership between the Henry County Fair Board and to this day we find is a valuable community asset.

It all began with the donation, move, and restoration of the Nathaniel Hartman Log Home. The 1860s log home was moved to the Henry County Fairgrounds and served as home base for the HCHS during the week of the Henry County Fair. The log home provided the first place for the HCHS to share the love of history and engage with the public in their own community space. (You can read more about the Nathaniel Hartman Log Home under our facilities tab on this website.)

Over the last 50 years the HCHS has expanded our Fairgrounds site to include 4 more historic structures including the 1897 One Room Schoolhouse, Summer Kitchen, Smoke House, and historic Gazebo. The landscape is beautiful including a kitchen herb garden, edged landscape made from original brick of the 3rd Napoleon River Bridge and an original Heller-Aller Windmill located on the corner of St. Rt. 108 and Huddle Road.

The Living History Encampment during the Henry County Fair as seen from the wheelchair ramp located on the 1897 One Room Schoolhouse.

The Living History Encampment began in 2003 when Ohio Celebrated the State of Ohio Bi-Centennial. A young group of Junior Historians gathered to start and host the first Living History Encampment during the Henry County Fair. The original founding members included Krystal Donlley Shao, Michele Rebeu Fruth, and Taylor Moyer. The expressed purpose was to provide educational programming that would highlight Northwest Ohio and Henry County’s earliest settlers and American Indians.

After much success the Living History Encampment has grown to become Henry County’s largest living history event and a major part of the festivities during the Henry County Fair! Over the years the event has hosted re-enactors and living historians from Greenville, Defiance, Toledo, Haskins, Liberty Center, Wooster, Waterville, Perrysburg, and Bowling Green, Ohio. The event has grown to include participants from Indiana and Michigan as well. What once began with 3 reenactors has grown to upwards of 50 or more!

The Living History Encampment typically spans Ohio history from the 1770s through the American Civil War 1860-1865. There are times the timeline has been expanded into the 1870s. This timeline is most often selected as it fits the era of Statehood and fits in nicely with our period structures. The event has also been geared at providing diverse histories including that of women, American Indians, and the every day common Henry County resident. The event works to provide a variety of historical perspectives representing both sides of conflicts from Union and Confederate soldiers, to British, Americans, French, and American Indians.

Programming includes historic and period encampments with historic tents and campsites. Cooking demonstrations, sewing, bead working, basket making, musket demonstrations, blacksmithing, and more are an exciting family friendly opportunity for everyone to enjoy.

The Living History Encampment is open August 11-14 from 11:00am.-dusk admission is FREE with ticketed gate admission into the Fairgrounds. Children are required to be accompanied by and adult at all times and there is NO smoking on the museum grounds.

Fairground & Living History Encampment Committee
Superintendent: Taylor Moyer
Superintendent: Jean Keller
Assistant: Tyler Burg
Committee: Allison Repass
Committee: Abbie Stevenson
Committee: Ashley Lawson
Committee: Cathy Hefflinger
Committee: Roger Hefflinger
Grounds: Peggy Johnson
Grounds: Phil Johnson
Grounds: Lois Hanna
Grounds: Brian Tilse

Sponsors & Partnerships
Henry County Fair Board
Henry County Chamber of Commerce
WNDH 103.1 – Napoleon
Black Swamp Intertribal Foundation
68th O.V.I.
More to come. . .

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