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Fair’s attendance comparable to ’12

To the surprise of no one, it was a steamy week for the 154th consecutive annual Harrison County Fair, which came to a close Saturday night. Early numbers show that despite the change in weeks (it was bumped up two weeks due to the earlier start date of most of Harrison County’s schools), a change in the daily lineups and despite high temperatures averaging in the mid-90s each day, attendance closely matched last year’s figures.
‘I thought we had a really good fair this year,’ fair board president Todd Uhl said. ‘Saturday night was a disappointment due to the crowd. We had tractors pulling until 12:30 that night, but, because there’d been a forecast of rain all day, I think that hurt some. If you looked at your radar on the phone, it looked like we were getting hammered with rain. People won’t show up if they think they are going to get rained on. We had a few showers for about 15 minutes, but it didn’t effect the tractor pull.’
Uhl said attendance was down by about half on Saturday night while the rest of the week was comparable to last year. Had the attendance Saturday matched last year’s, he said, this year’s overall attendance would have been up by a slight margin.
The new lineup of events ‘ which had motocross races Monday, midget car races Tuesday and small car and large car demolition derbies on Wednesday and Thursday night, respectively ‘ didn’t appear to be drawbacks.
‘We tracked the attendance by event and not by the night, and we were right on track for last year. The only thing with Wednesday and Thursday night is that there’s not as many demo cars as there used to be, probably due to the high price people are getting for scrap metal,’ Uhl said. ‘One thing we are looking at is to maybe add another event, some type of other entertainment that could go on before or after on the grandstand. Maybe something like monster trucks, or some people have been after us to do quad drags. We don’t know right now. We’ll just keep tweaking and see if we can get something to go and make the fair better from the entertainment standpoint.
‘We know there was an issue with the car count, but that’s why we’re looking to bring in something to go along with it for next year,’ he said.
As usual, there was a mixed bag of opinions as to what the fair got right and what could be improved.
On the positive side, most people were happy they could enter the fair and receive a bracelet to ride all they wanted for only $8.
Uhl said Carnival Tyme ‘ the ride company at this year’s fair ‘ said most fairs that utilize their services charge $20 for a bracelet. Uhl said there were more picnic tables and benches for people to relax on this year, as well as the addition of a few different vendors this year.
In the complaint department, Uhl said there were, as usual, some people who believed they shouldn’t have to pay to get on the fairgrounds property. Since the pay-gate doesn’t open until 4 p.m., anyone can enter the grounds for free and see the exhibits before that time. They just won’t be able to view grandstand shows or ride rides.
‘It’s hard to let people in for free in the evenings because then they try to get to the grandstand to view the shows, and it’s not fair to those people who paid their money for that attraction,’ Uhl said.
Uhl said he was unaware of any issues with the heat, and, from what he was told, the 4-H had a great fair as well.
‘I haven’t seen a final count but I hear they had a good number of animals,’ Uhl said.
The harness races Thursday and Friday saw a small bump in attendance. On Friday, 80-year-old Jim Beanblossom drove Ndana Favorite for the first time in about a decade.
Uhl said he hopes attendance continues to go up for the harness racing and that when a one-day fall meet, scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 28, will have a nice turnout for harness races.
‘We’re going to give it another go and see what happens,’ Uhl said.
Results for the baby contest at the fair Friday evening were:
Boys ‘ 0-5 months, 1. Waylon Cash Smith, 2. Tristan Cunningham; 6-11 months, 1. Cole Pitman, 2. Ruger Michael Roberts; 12-17 months, 1. Huxley Hughes, 2. Landon Deitsch; 18-24 months, 1. Layne Huggett, 2. Carter DeRay;
Girls ‘ 0-5 months, 1. Savannah Rose English, 2. Cora Walton; 6-11 months, 1. Kynleigh Missi, 2. Gracelynn Applegate; 12-17 months, 1. Alyssa Foreman, 2. Ayla Mae Shearer; 18-24 months, 1. Cheyenne Chatman, 2. Adalyn Wencka.

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