Madison County Fair Manager Bob Richardson wished every day of the just completed county fair had been like the last day Saturday.
“Saturday was the last day and it was great. People really enjoyed it. I wish we had a few more days like that. Other than that, the fair went pretty smooth,” he said Monday.
However, the major bump in fair week was the rain.
“Unfortunately, we can’t control the weather. We had to cancel quite a few of our events in the infield, our entertainment. But we had fantastic volunteers who helped us get through the elements,” he said.
Richardson doesn’t have attendance figures yet, “but I am positive we are down because of the weather. We pretty much lost one day when we got the monsoon. The weather was horrible. The rides had to shut down early, as well as a lot of other things. So attendance was down those days when we had the rain.”
Richardson believes some of the changes made before the fair may have saved it. “If we had not done all the ditching and draining we did before the fair, we probably would have had to have shut down a couple of days. The water, it wouldn’t have went away. We had the mayor and city service director here one day. We are going to work on some things together later on.”
Richardson said the Fair Board is going to have a meeting later on. “With our people and the mayor and the county to see if we can’t eliminate some of the water issues, not just for us but for everyone involved. The meeting will probably be held in the next couple of weeks.”
He did point out that he believes attendance was up for the first day of the fair, Sunday, July 9. “It looked like it was up Saturday, as well. In between we had so much rain that attendance was down all those days. Overall, I am sure it was down with four in the middle with bad weather,” Richardson lamented.
But there were a lot of positive things, he added. “We changed our traffic in the fairgrounds. It made it safe for the kids, and we got positive comments about that. We had shuttle service this year for the first time provided by the Shriners. We also hired the Nazarene Church across the street and they handled all our restrooms and trash and they did an unbelievable job — nothing but good comments about the work they did,” he said.
What does he see as the high point for the week? “It was the kids. There was strong attendance in our stands for all the shows for our kids. At Showman of Showmen Friday every seat was taken and they were standing at the rails. That’s what this is all about — we do this for the kids. All of the shows were well attended. I’m very happy with that,” he said.
Looking ahead, Richardson said, “We always want to bring our committees together to look at what we can do next year. One idea I had was a way that people could pay just for coming out for lunch, like a lunch pass. We will start looking at our infield and other entertainment. In fact, we had someone call me this morning (Monday) wanting to book for next year.”
He said he met with all the concessionaires on Saturday. “Other than the weather, they were all happy, and said they were coming back. We are heading in the right direction. The new (covered) horse arena was unbelievable. They didn’t have to cancel any shows; they didn’t have to slow down.”
Regarding the Circle of Winners, Richardson said he has hasn’t seen the results yet for the sale but it looked good. “It seemed to me that the number of buyers was up this year.” He said the the Sales Committee is working on the Circle of Winners results. “It is long process and we don’t want to miss anyone.”
He said he appreciated the coverage this year by The Madison Press and other local media covering the events and participants.
“If anyone has suggestions or comments, they can call me here at the office at 740-852-1654 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’ll see that it gets to the Senior Fair Board. Also every first Wednesday of the month is the Senior Fair Board meeting at 7:30 p.m. at the Fair Board offices. It’s open to the public and we would love to have comments, both good and bad.”
Reach General Manager/Editor Gary Brock at 937-556-5759.