Attendance at the 149th annual consecutive Harrison County Fair was steady last week, according to fair board president Todd Uhl, and compared well to the fairs in recent years.
‘I haven’t seen the final numbers yet,’ Uhl said, ‘but out of our tallies, it was steady with last year. Maybe literally 10 or 15 people less per night.’
Linda Abner with the Harrison County Extension Office said the numbers for this year’s 4-H contest entries did more than just hold steady; they increased.
Abner said she worried the numbers ‘would be down, due to the economy.’ However, this year there were 1,000 livestock entries, with animals like rabbits and pigs, compared to last year’s 750 entries.
Since the numbers are still just preliminary and the entries are still being entered into the database, Abner said she can’t tell exactly where the numbers have increased, though she knows pig entries were down from last year and sheep entries had increased so much they had to be moved to the swine barn.
‘There just wasn’t room,’ she said.
Static projects numbered approximately 1,300 entries, which is down a little from last year, Abner said.
‘When they vary by 50 or 100 (entries), it’s hard to say they’re ‘down,’ ‘ she said. She explained that one child can enter sometimes 40 or 50 projects, so if only one child decided not to enter this year, that could explain the variance. Abner said there were 1,300 open class entries, also, with 250 people participating.
‘Overall, I thought we had a really good year,’ she said.
Despite the heated temperatures, Uhl said the weather didn’t seem to have an effect on attendance.
‘It wasn’t near as miserable as it has been,’ Uhl said.
The fair brought back all the standards, including the mini car and big car demo derbies and the truck and tractor pulls. Those nights at the fair are always popular, Uhl said.
‘Those are by far the busiest,’ he said.
The baby contest, in its second year returning to the fair, was organized by Lynne Thomas and held Friday night. There were about 45 children, 24 months and younger, entered into the contest, which Thomas said was down a little from last year.
Winners in the girls’ category were: Rainelle Coffman, daughter of Randy and Jasmine Coffman, 0 to 5 months; Rease Jones, daughter of Scott and Angie Jones, 6 to 11 months; Liberty Walton, daughter of Rashannia Early and Joseph Walton, 12 to 17 months; and Alyssa Haggard, daughter of Aaron and Carrie Haggard, 18 to 24 months.
In the boys’ category, winners were: Bryston Darringer, son of Jessica and Cody Darringer, 0 to 5 months; Jackson Fessel, son of Allison Maggard and Ricky Fessel, 6 to 11 months; Jaxon R. Wininger, son of Sara Allen, 12 to 17 months; and Brett Harbison, son of Patrick and Natalie Harbison, 18 to 24 months.
Overall, Uhl said he would call the 149th Harrison County Fair a success.
‘I thought everything went real well,’ he said.
Uhl credited the more than 200 volunteers for helping things run smoothly, making the fair ‘something to be proud of.’
Boy Scout Troop 412 helped park cars and Troop 22 worked the grandstand, checking for tickets and armbands and helping people to their seats. Uhl praised their work ethic for some of the most thankless jobs during the fair.
‘They did an exceptional job,’ he said.
A 4-H parent himself, Uhl also commended the 4-H’ers for their effort in keeping things tidy.
‘The 4-H has … done a great job in their area,’ he said.
Invaluable to this year’s fair was Melvin Shewmaker, hired by the fair board to prepare the grounds and keep them clean, Uhl said.
On Sunday, Uhl said Shewmaker was at the fairgrounds early and stayed late with his crew to clean up the garbage and other sprucing of the grounds.
‘He’s just remarkable,’ Uhl said. ‘He’s just a doer.’
Despite being categorized as successful, the fair wasn’t without accidents.
Uhl’s wife, Lisa, was involved in an accident with a spooked steer last Monday night.
‘It was a freak accident,’ her husband said. ‘No one to blame.’
Uhl said the steer knocked Lisa down and she landed in a bad position, shattering her wrist in five places.
Harrison Township Volunteer Fire Dept. first responders were on the scene before the ambulance and were able to get Lisa ‘comfortable and situated,’ Uhl said, but said her wrist had to be re-cast twice due to pain and swelling. X-rays taken Monday morning showed things are healing properly.
‘She’s going to be fine, I’m sure,’ Uhl said.
Now that number 149 is in the bag, Uhl is already looking ahead to 150. He mentioned the possibility of commemorative baskets, as well as getting special entertainment on Tuesday and Wednesday nights.
‘We’re trying to get it spruced up a little bit,’ he said of those typically slower nights.
Uhl also said Karen Swartz of Corydon will also release a book in the next year about the history of the fair and he hopes to feature that in the 150th annual consecutive fair.
The karaoke contest was held Wednesday night. There were two entry divisions: adults, 16 years old or older, and children, ages 7 to 15.
Winners in the children’s division were: first place ‘ Jordan Smith; second place ‘ Lilly Galla; third place ‘ Morgan Vecchic.
Adult winners were: first place ‘ Emmy Bodner; second place, Sara Salings; third place ‘ Amanda Walker.
The cattle, hog and chicken calling contests were held Friday night on the Midway stage.
Cattle calling contest: first place ‘ Brad Marshall of Lanesville; second place ‘ Brittany Pittman of Corydon; third place ‘ Austin Haggard of Corydon.
Hog calling contest: first place ‘ Walter Reimold of Corydon; second place ‘ Suzanne Simpson of Elizabeth; third place ‘ Craig Simpson of Elizabeth.
Chicken calling contest: first place ‘ Brittany Pittman of Corydon; second place ‘ Rebecca Gilley of Palmyra; third place ‘ Walter Reimold of Corydon.
Prizes were donated by Tyson Foods. First-place winners received $50 gift certificates to Tyson, $25 to the second-place winners, and $15 to the third-place finishers.
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