The copious amounts of rain which fell during the week of the Madison County Fair watered down attendance for the 126th annual event last week.
Still, moments of sunshine broke through the rain-saturated clouds to brighten the outlook.
“Attendance was down quite a bit,” said Darrell Champer, president of the Madison County Agricultural Society.
Treasurer Jody Garrison said tickets sold at the gate totaled 11,274, not counting season passes, 4-H passes (800) and student passes.
Receipts for all passes, plus grandstand attendance and pit passes, season tickets, and student tickets for the motorized events, came very close to $98,000, Garrison said.
With the fairgrounds sustaining heavy rains at the beginning of the week, Champer said ag society board members were kept busy hauling front-loader scoops of gravel, mulch, or anything which would absorb the excess moisture.
“It was a constant battle all week,” Champer said.
Despite the muddy conditions, he pointed to some bright spots. In the open livestock events, Champer pointed out numerous participants came in from outside Madison County, which he saw as a positive response to the ongoing, newly-renovated fairgrounds.
While the truck pull on Tuesday evening was canceled completely and numbers of participants suffered later in the week due to the threat of rain, the KOI drag race Sunday drew a large group of participants.
“It went on until 1:30 in the morning,” Champer said. “It was a huge event. It’s something we’ll have to split off and make it its own event.”
Reaction to the newly finished Beck’s Hog Barn was all positive.
“It was fantastic,” Champer said. “We (ag society members and county commissioners) made the announcement we’ll start building a new horse barn.”
Champer said though the decision has been made to build a new building, it has yet to be decided if the new structure will be a replacement or an addition to the existing barns.
“There’s a whole bunch of issues over there,” he said.
One is drainage.
“It’s kind of a low spot in the area between the grandstand and the horse barn.”
Champer said the harness racing event drew 159 participants, which was a significant increase over previous racing days.
An election for board of directors was held during the final day of the fair.
Veteran directors David Gallimore and George Roby retained their seats. Brock Ballah will replace Ruth Ernst. Dave Monnin and Kyle Seaburn, who were appointed to vacant seats, were elected and will serve three-year terms.
Dean Shipley can be reached at 740-852-1616, ext. 1617, on Facebook at Dean Shipley or via Twitter @DeanAShipley
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