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Harrison County Fair Queen Katherine Lyell gets a sloppy kiss from a cow Thursday afternoon. The bovine, which Lyell named Kate, was to be shown later that evening. Photo by Alan Stewart (click for larger version)

Fair a-buzz with activities

Crowds 'exceptional' throughout

August 08, 2012 | 10:29 AM

Final numbers are still being tallied, but all indications are that attendance at the 153rd edition of the Harrison County Fair was up from last year.

Fair board president Todd Uhl, who is currently in Indianapolis as part of the board for the Indiana State Fair, said good numbers were turned in the first three nights of the fair, with Wednesday night's 3/4-midget car races creating quite a bit of buzz (and not just from their motorcycle engines).

Colton Smith is forced to bail off his lawn mower during Thursday night’s lawn mower demo derby competition in front of the grandstand. Photo by Wade Bell (click for larger version)
"They put on a really good show, and I heard a lot of people tell me they really liked it and were going to turn some people onto it for next year," Uhl said.

The gate was also solid for Thursday's demolition derby and rollover contest and the truck and tractor pulls Friday and Saturday nights, leading Uhl to the conclusion that numbers were up.

"We've not seen all of the numbers yet, but I believe it has to be up from last year. There was a big crowd on Thursday night, and the other two nights were exceptional," he said. "Also, it seemed like it was a younger crowd, with a lot of people in the age range from 20 to 30. That group was definitely bigger this year."

Looking ahead to next year's fair, Uhl said there are already a couple of changes possibly in the works, including moving the music tent from behind the 4-H area toward the Midway so it can be used more and banning cars from accessing the 4-H barn area in the evening for safety reasons. By this time next year, fair patrons will also notice improvements to the horse barn, thanks to money given to the project by the Indiana Standardbred Association. Uhl also said he hopes money can be obtained to spruce up the grandstand to make it more presentable.

Addressing rumors that the date of next year's fair would be changing, Uhl said the idea has been mentioned but nothing definite has been decided.

Uhl said a carnival company has to have a date open for rides, an open date needs to be made for drivers for the truck and tractor pulls since they often travel a circuit, 4-H has to be taken into account and last, but not least, 4-H entries also need to be sent to Indianapolis to take part in the 4-H competition at the Indiana State Fair.

"We're good partners with the 4-H, and we would like to see that partnership continue. We've also got school starting earlier, so we have to consider the kids as well," Uhl said. "There are a number of factors that go into it. It'd be easy to just sit back and say let's start it two weeks earlier, but we have to consider a lot of things before we can make that type of decision.

"There have been 153 fairs," he said, "and we'll keep tweaking to make sure the next one is just a little bit better."

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