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Summer reigns as fair off to soggy start

Summer reigns as fair off to soggy start
Summer reigns as fair off to soggy start
Summer Allen reigns as 2019 Miss Harrison County. Photo by Jo Ann Spieth-Saylor

The Harrison County Fair got off to a dampened start Sunday when event organizers were forced to cancel the parade due to lightning.
John Kost, president of the Harrison County Agricultural Society, which sponsors the annual fair, now in its 160th year, said it was the first time in recent memory that the parade was stormed out.
He said warnings from the National Weather Service and Harrison County Emergency Management Agency led to the decision.
‘It was very saddening. You never want to have to cancel the event,’ Kost said.
Despite the cancellation of the parade, Sunday’s other events, including the crowning of this year’s fair queen, took place.
Summer Allen, a 2019 graduate of Floyd Central High School, accepted the crown from last year’s queen, Madison Summers.
The 18-year-old, who had attended school in the North Harrison Community School Corp. through the eighth grade, said she didn’t think she would win as she was the youngest of the five contestants. However, she had asked for time off from her job as a lifeguard at River Run Water Park in New Albany just in case.
The blue-eyed blonde plans to attend the University of Louisville to major in psychology and eventually enter law school. She is the daughter of Gary and Lisa Allen of New Salisbury and was sponsored by the Patoka Lake Sailing Club.
Allen said she is excited about serving this week as queen, especially with the opportunity of meeting new people and making new friends.
The 10-year 4-H member who mostly entered exhibit hall projects through her club, Tic Tac and Sew, also participated in 4-H cat shows.
The possibility of a wet fair week didn’t deter her enthusiasm.
‘I’ll just wear my rain boots and rain jacket and go to as many events as I can,’ she said.
First runner-up was Cheyenne Wallace, who also was named Miss Congeniality, and second runner-up was Emily Fleace.
The first full day of fair events was Monday, though midway rides didn’t open until yesterday evening (Tuesday) due to a scheduling conflict.
Kost said he was relieved that rain showers throughout the day Monday didn’t seem to scare too many fair-goers away.
‘Considering the weather, I think we did very well,’ he said. ‘The grandstands (for the demolition derby events) looked pretty full.’
Kost said the demo derby pit area held up, thanks to work by the grounds crews, and the show went without a hitch.
‘The crowds really seemed to like it (Monday) night,’ he said.
One issue did come to light after the heavy rains Sunday, Kost said, but it didn’t become a problem.
‘We had a lot of concerns with flooding along the creek, but, thankfully, it didn’t pass the banks,’ he said.
Kost said the situation was closely followed by EMA and fair officials, who had an action plan in place if the water did rise above the creek banks. He said the creek subsided to normal levels after drying out through Monday night and Tuesday morning.
Weather forecasts don’t show the week getting much drier, but Kost said there shouldn’t be an issue with the creek.
‘I foresee the creek staying low and not causing us any trouble, unless we see another significant rainfall northeast of here (upstream from the fairgrounds),’ he said.
Kost said he has been happy with how the fair has gone so far but wants people to understand no one can control the weather, and any decisions made regarding event cancellation or rescheduling are made in the name of caution.
‘We just want people to be safe,’ he added.