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Fair attendance up then down

What started as a relatively cool week of fair events swelled to match the summer’s usual blistering heat by the end of week. But rising temperatures didn’t deter crowds from attending many events at the 152nd annual Harrison County Fair.
‘Attendance was slightly down from last year,’ Todd Uhl, fair board president, said. ‘But last year had record-breaking attendance.’
There was a difference of less than a thousand people between last year’s attendance and this year’s turn-out. Uhl suspected that the heat may have been a factor.
‘I definitely think that the heat had an effect later on in the week,’ he said. ‘We were up in attendance on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday and down on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.’
Still, temperatures didn’t deter too many attendees, which Uhl had been told was a problem for other fairs.
‘The food vendors told me this was a good fair for them,’ Uhl said. ‘(The week before), their venues were dead because of the heat.’
Even with the high temperatures, the festivities on Thursday night drew the biggest crowd.
‘The big demo derby’s usually pretty popular,’ Uhl said.
Other events on Thursday included the Homemaker’s cherry pie contest and the Buck Mathes look-alike contest. This year, Kim Jones had the winning cherry pie and Daniel Shireman was named the best Mathes look-alike.
The fourth annual baby contest was Friday night. This year’s contest had four divisions for boys and girls: 0 to 5 months, 6 to 11 months, 12 to 17 months and 18 to 24 months. All participants from 0 to 5 months received a bib, and all babies from 6 to 24 months received a T-shirt.
Winners were: 0 to 5 months ‘ 5-month-old Bryan Summers, son of Tracy Summers, and 5-month-old Ava Delaney, daughter of Kelley and Derrick Delaney, first; 4-month-old Axton Anderson, son of Natasha Anderson, and 4-month-old Laken Seacat, daughter of Matt and Tabby Seacat, second; 6 to 11 months ‘ 6-month-old Wade Freiberger, son of Bevin and Adam Freiberger, and 8-1/2-month-old Addison Zoglmann, daughter of Tim and Brittany Zoglmann, first; 6-1/2-month-old Waylon Jones, son of Chris and Kim Jones, and 9-month-old Gracelynne Wooten, daughter of James Wooten and Brittany Heilig, second; 12 to 17 months ‘ 17-month-old Hayden Hughes, son of Emily Hottle and Zachary Hughes, and 17-month-old Kinley Singleton, daughter of Josh and Kelley Singleton, first; 15-month-old Asher Abner, son of Andrew and Linda Abner, 14-month-old Addison Smith, daughter of Eric and Christina Smith, second; 18 to 24 months ‘ 18-month-old Preston Phillips, son of John and Abby Phillips, and 18-month-old Lila Megnin, daughter of Rikki and Jeff Megnin, first; 19-month-old T.J. Bline, son of Melissa Bline, 22-month-old Madison Bumm, daughter of Curtis Bumm and Heather Smith, second.
Another notable event was last Wednesday night’s country music show, with local Rachel Timberlake filling in for DeWayne Spaw.
‘I think we were very fortunate that Rachel could fill in,’ said Uhl, who noted that this year’s Wednesday night had higher attendance than last year. ‘I think the local draw helped us. It was unfortunate that the original entertainment had to cancel, but thank goodness for Rachel.’
The fair board is considering making changes to Wednesday night events to draw a bigger crowd for future fairs.
‘We’re always looking for something to do on Wednesday nights to get more people in the grandstands,’ Uhl said.
Uhl extended his appreciation to everyone who made the fair possible.
‘I think our carnival company does such a good job,’ he said. ‘And it takes hundreds of volunteers to bring this fair together, from the set-up to the clean-up and everything. I want to thank everyone who volunteered.’
Despite the heat, Uhl said that the feedback from fair-goers has been mostly positive.
‘I had very few complaints this year,’ he said. ‘I think most people enjoyed it. I hope so.’