BURTON -- The 190th Great Geauga County Fair starts minus outdoors legend Reno "Jay" Reda, but he's there in spirit.
The natural resources area of the Geauga County Fair is known as "Reno World" and for good reason. It was former Division of Wildlife officer and outdoor skills specialist Reno "Jay" Reda's baby. He led the charge in developing the area to showcase Northeast Ohio's diverse outdoors opportunities. In a 2011 interview, Reda said "It's phenomenal. 3000 kids over the course of 5 days will shoot a bow, another 2700-2800 will get to go fishing, and it's all free."
Reda's life was cut short by an aggressive form of cancer earlier this year. His spirit, however, which those who knew him agree, was larger than life. His wife Michelle is now running the "Inside the Great Outdoors Retriever Team," doing demonstrations at the fair. "Jay's passion for getting kids involved was contagious. There's a whole group of us carrying on his mission."
That group is referred to as "Reno's Army" and it's headed by Michelle. Reno supported her through her own cancer battle shortly after he retired from the state. Now she is doing the dog demos with golden retrievers "Grizz" and "Bruin".
If you'd like to check out the Natural Resources area at the fair, you can get to their website for showtimes and a schedule of events through the link provided. On Sunday at 3PM, an engraved marker will commemorate Reno's contributions to the fair in what will be a very emotional ceremony.
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