Demo derbies rule
Thursday night proved the point: Harrison County people like fire and smoke.
Fair attendance this year was led by Thursday night’s huge crowd of 5,000 people for the “sedan” Demolition Derby. You couldn’t find a place to park, even outside the Harrison County Fairgrounds in Corydon.
“We had just a wild attendance there on Thursday night,” said Steve Haggard, fair board president. The 5,000 figure led the week’s events, which drew a total attendance of 25,000 to 30,000 people.
Friday night’s truck pull was expected to bring in the largest crowd, but attendance was down some. It was still the second largest event of the week. Haggard attributed the disappointing attendance to the rain that came in about 5 or 6 p.m.
It “could have been a lot hotter,” Haggard said, sunnily. “We had pretty good weather.”
Saturday’s tractor pull went well, and long, as usual, but Haggard said fair planners may have to add more combustion to the event next year. “They seem to like the fire down here; the music doesn’t bring ’em.”
That’s not entirely true, though. Fair Board Vice President Carl (Buck) Mathes said there was reasonably good attendance Tuesday for the Sonshiners and that Wednesday’s attendance for the Corydon Jamboree was OK.
The 25,000 to 30,000 total attendance was right in line with last year’s crowds, said Jack Windell, the fair board treasurer.
Everyone who had attended throughout the week was eligible for a $5,000 cash giveaway Saturday night. Svetlana Winn cashed in on the grand prize this year. Winn lives in New Salisbury with her husband, Trent, but she’s originally from Russia and has been living in the United States for only a couple of years.
Winners of the $1,000 cash drawings are: Monday, Christina Walther, Palmyra; Tuesday, Carl Vance, Salem; Wednesday, Dana Bachman, New Middletown; Thursday, Nicole Smitley, Corydon. Friday night’s $2,000 winner is George Kleber, Louisville.
Drastic improvements were made to the 4-H barns before this year’s fair. Jennifer Neef, the Harrison County Purdue Extension educator, 4-H/youth development, said the fair was wonderful from her perspective, and barn improvements were appreciated.
Mathes said he got “a lot of comments on how nice it looked, and how much work they’d done up there. The hog pen seemed to have more air circulation, more air circulating through it than before.”
Neef said 400 4-H members participated in the fair. She has not been able to compile final numbers yet, but last year 1,500 4-H projects were completed, and she believes this year’s numbers are similar.
The 2001 fair’s events were essentially the same as the past few year’s.
“I think that come next year we may be looking at doing something different,” Haggard said. “We’ve been doing some of the same things, and we are always looking to better it.”
One thing that won’t be changing much is the midway, which Mathes said had good rides and drew a lot of young people. This was the fourth year with Interstate Amusements of America, and the first year of a three-year contract with the company.
One area that needs improvement is parking. “We ran out of parking a few nights and there was some disgusted people with that,” Mathes said.
“Everything else I think was pretty much average for the fair. We had a lot of people and a lot of fun,” Mathes said. “We all really appreciate the hundreds of people that it takes to put the fair on, the unsung heroes, because without those people the fair isn’t possible.”
A couple of unsung events were held Saturday, before a sparse crowd. Terry Sullivan of Mauckport won the blindfold antique tractor pull. Kent Kitterman of Corydon was his “co-pilot.”
In the slowest antique tractor race, Josh Baker of Irvington, Ky., had the worst, or best, time of 47 seconds for a pull of 50 feet.
And the barrel pushing contest was won by Steve Mullins of Brandenburg.