Ohio State Fair Manager Virgil Strickler

Strickler announces retirement

Virgil Strickler announced that he intends to retire as general manager of the Ohio State Fair after this year. Strickler is the longest serving general manager of the Ohio State Fair and is known for implementing the Ohio State Fair’s nationally recognized Youth Reserve Program in 1995.

“Today is bittersweet. I will be forever grateful for the last three decades at the Ohio State Fair,” Strickler said. “I’ve grown up at fairs, and Ohio’s county and independent fairs are what makes our State Fair so strong. I’ve watched my children, and now grandchildren, grow up here. The State Fair means so much to generations of Ohioans, and I’m proud of the strong partnerships we’ve developed over the years, and how they have helped our State Fair grow and improve each year.”

Strickler began working at the Ohio Expo Center in 1993 as agriculture director and was named general manager in 2004. In the wake of Strickler’s announcement, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine announced that a nationwide search for the next general manager of the Ohio Expo Center & State Fair is now underway.

“With Virgil’s departure, we will have some big boots to fill,” said Governor DeWine. “I’ve had the pleasure of working with Virgil for many years and wish him nothing but the best as he begins his retirement.”

DeWine also announced that the name of the Youth Reserve Program will be changed to the Virgil L. Strickler Youth Reserve Program. 

 “Virgil has poured his all into these grounds over the past three decades,” said Angela Krile, Chair of the Ohio Expositions Commission. “He has paved the way for continued investments in our next generation of leaders and for great improvements at the Ohio Expo Center through the Expo 2050 Master Plan, and I am confident that both the Fair and Expo will continue his legacy of excellence and dedication to the youth of Ohio for years to come.”

Ohio Department of Natural Resources Director Mary Mertz, who also serves as a member of the Ohio Expositions Commission, will chair the committee responsible for identifying candidates for the general manager position. Details about the position and how to apply are available at ohiostatefair.com and ohioexpocenter.com. Job applications will be accepted until September 1, 2023, with the goal of having a new general manager in place by the start of the new year. 

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One comment

  1. I was so sad when I heard this news

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