The Washington County Fair Board elected Jason Cloudt as its new president at a meeting on Jan. 15. Cloudt follows Gary Lambrecht, who stepped down from the position in December after nine years as president and 22 years on the board.

"Obviously, we know we have big shoes to fill, and we're excited to continue the tradition of the fair and how it brings the community together every year," Cloudt said Wednesday. "I'm nervous, but excited for it."

This will be Cloudt's 12th year on the board. He said the board is excited for the 2019 Washington County Fair.

"We're super excited about our concert this year, and with (headliners) Rhett Akins and Tyler Farr, we think we have a great combination of some generational entertainment there that should be fun for everyone," Cloudt said.

Cloudt said there are two improvements the board is hoping to finish by the start of the 2019 fair.

By spring, the board hopes to finish a hard-surface handicap parking area at the Rybin Building, which is located on the fairgrounds in Arlington. The nonprofit Washington County Friends of the Fair received $3,000 from the Blair Area Community Foundation in December for the project.

"We've been fortunate enough to be awarded a grant, and we're working on the matching funding to be able to pour some concrete and create some ADA parking for those that come to the fairground," Cloudt said.

The other project is a play area for fair-going children. Cloudt said the fun-zone project is still in the planning stages, but is steadily moving forward.

"It's kind of an ongoing process, but there's a couple things we're hoping to add to this year's fair," he said.

Cloudt said the board is looking forward to working together to continue the growth the fair saw in large part because of Lambrecht.

"We know that it's impossible to fill Gary's shoes. His heart and soul was in it," Cloudt said. "He was a natural, but we look forward to, as a board, and me as president, I look forward to doing the best we can, and we're excited to continue the fair and continue the growth."

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