Since beginning his tenure serving on the Junior and Senior Fair Boards, Owen Unkefer has been an outstanding supporter of the Columbiana County Fair and his community for most of his life.
His love of the fair began at an early age growing up on his family's dairy farm and showing Jersey cattle through 4H. He served 2 years on the Junior Fair Board (1978 – 79) and the next year began his tenure on the senior fair board (1980).
For years as a Board member, he has been a dependable, effective leader and has given up his time and skills in a selfless manner. The sweat equity he has personally given to fairground improvement projects over the years cannot be measured. He knows where every water line and spigot is located on the fairgrounds and can always be counted on to help when there is a water leak or problem that needs addressed. He helped put new roofs on all the barns. He has donated countless hours as an operator of his equipment and fuel to the fairgrounds, saving the fair lot of money over the years.
His service to the Board has included holding each officer position at one time period including 4 years as President; serving as Chairman of Horses & Ponies, Dairy, Parking, Tickets & Gates, Security, Grounds & Maintenance and his favorite department, Junior Fair; and being active on countless committees.
Owen is always thinking of ways to improve the fair. As the Director in charge of Junior Fair, Owen ran the Junior Fair Livestock Sales for years and eventually started the Junior Fair Livestock Sales Committee. In 1993, he produced the very first Junior Fair Handbook. The Senior and Junior fair books were together until this time. He implemented the computer software program, which is still being used today by both the Junior and Senior Fair Boards.
In 2008, he spearheaded the beef committee's fund-raising efforts by bringing the community together to build a new beef complex. He got everyone on board with the idea that quotation mark if we tear down the existing buildings and prove to everyone, we're going to make things happen, the community will support us quotation mark. This project was a success and was the beginning of the transformation of the fairgrounds. Owen assisted in the construction and could be found anytime working on the project doing whatever was needed, including building a retaining wall. Moving dirt with his skid steer or on the phone and visiting members of the community asking for help in getting them involved. He spent 12 to 14-hour days at the construction site during the final 2 months before the fair. He made a phone call to an electrician he knew and asked for his help on the project. 11 years later the gentleman is still helping at the fairgrounds!
A highly regarded and respected member of the community, he owns and operates his dairy farm, Ufashion Jerseys, LLC in Columbiana, Ohio along with his son Todd. He is a member of the Ohio Farm Bureau; American Jersey Cattle Association, where he was recipient of the Young Jersey Breeder Award; Ohio Jersey Cattle Association, where he has served as a director; and past delegate of COBA Select-Sires.
Columbiana County Fair Board is proud to recognize Owen as an individual within our community that selflessly has made a positive and productive impact on the fair. He has been an exceptional role model and dedicated member for 36 years.