Many offices in Delaware will be closing early Thursday in observance of the celebrated Little Brown Jug, one-third of the Triple Crown of Harness Racing for Pacers.
The Thursday race is the high point of the Delaware County Fair week, which continues through Saturday.
These offices include many at the city of Delaware, which close noon Thursday.
“It’s a distinctly Delaware day,” said Lee Yoakum, community affairs coordinator at the city. “Things already are pretty quiet, anyway, especially in the afternoon.”
“Jug Day is special, according to Sports Illustrated, because it is one of the top sporting events that a person should attend at least once in their lifetime,” said Delaware County Administrator Tim Hansley. “And it is right here in our backyard!”
“The county offices close at noon as the board of commissioners couples this half day with another half-day holiday to minimize the impact on county operations,” Hansley said. “It has been a half-day holiday and a tradition in support of our county fair for at least 20 years, as far as I can determine.”
Delaware City Schools students have both Thursday and Friday off of school to celebrate Jug Day. School officials said that while many students participate in the fair, closing down school is due to a more practical reason.
“DCS has a long history of closing school on the day of the Little Brown Jug race because several of our schools are in close proximity to the fairgrounds,” said district spokeswoman Jennifer Ruhe. “Increased traffic near those schools presents a safety concern for our students who walk to school and our buses that need to travel in that area.”
The Delaware County Juvenile Court will close at noon Thursday, along with a majority of Delaware County offices.
“From a practical standpoint, if all other county offices are closed that day, then we would not have case workers, prosecutors, child support representatives, etc., to have functional hearings in the afternoon” said Judge David Hejmanowski, judge of the juvenile/probate division of Delaware County Common Pleas Court.
For Delaware police, Jug Day is the opposite of a holiday.
“It’s an all-hands-on-deck kind of day” said Delaware Police Capt. Adam Moore. “None of the officers assigned to the day shift or afternoon shift patrol schedule are permitted to have the day off.”
However, Delaware Municipal Court will remain open all day. Clerk of Courts Cindy Dinovo said employees of the municipal court asked to trade the half day on Jug Day for a half day on New Year’s Eve.
Post-time for Jug Day is at 11 a.m. Thursday.
And in case you’re wondering, The Gazette’s offices will close at noon Thursday, too, in observance of the Little Brown Jug.
Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.