The 2007 Huron County Fair enjoyed great weather and good attendance. All in all, the fair was a success. This special section recaps the big events of each day and lists the winners in the various Junior Fair events, the demo derby and other compeitions.
Monday’s attendance at the fair was 7,692 — the highest it’s been on opening day in at least six years.
Last year, the rain-soaked opener drew 5,770, which was down from 6,183 in 2005. Opening day drew 6,742 in 2004, 6,229 in 2003 and 6,260 in 2002.
Country singer Rodney Atkins wowed the largest crowd ever at the Huron County Fair with two hours of music Monday night.
The concert, even with seating added to the track, was sold out for the first time that fair board members could remember.
Senior Fair office worker Ruth Swander attributed the attendance boost to country music singer Rodney Atkins’ concert, which was sold out. Swander said crowd members came from as far away as Michigan, Pennsylvania and Indiana. “It was a beautiful crowd and everybody loved it,” she said.
Royalty contests — the senior king and queen contest as well as the junior king and queen contest — were among the second-day highlights.
Hillside Acres residents Atlee and Ann Myers took the senior king and queen titles, and 2007 Bellevue High School graduate Bradley Watson and Western Reserve High School senior Maria Zimmerman were crowned Junior Fair king and queen.
Tuesday’s attendance at the fair was 8,121, including 1,468 seniors — it was their day, so they were admitted for a penny. That is down from 9,239 patrons last year, including about 1,800 seniors. Second-day attendance was 9,409 (including about 2,000 seniors) in 2004 and 8,630 (2,870) in 2003.
“The weather was very nice for the senior citizens,” Senior Fair office worker Ruth Swander said. “They were able to walk around and see many things.”
Swander said the grandstands were full for the cheer bonanza. “It was hoppin’,” she said.
Wednesday was Veteran’s Day and Kid’s Day, which meant free admission for everyone until 3 p.m. Veterans were admitted for 1 cent after 3 p.m. Free bean soup was available in the Veteran’s Pavilion.
Activitied include a kiddie tractor pull, the OSTPA Tractor Pull and a pony pull at 7.
A large crowd watched the tractor pull, which came on the third day of the fair.
Wednesday saw 6,890 patrons pay to the enter the fair after 3 p.m. (attendance figures before that time were unavailable). That was down from 8,219 last year. Paid attendance after 3 was 8,111 in 2005 and 7,079 in 2004.
The weather, once again, was favorable; not too hot, and not too much rain. “It just kind of sprinkled on and off. It wasn’t anything that chased them out,” Swander said. “We just keep putting in the order for some more (good weather).”
A case of swine flu among several pigs came to light on this day, so they were given shots as a preventative measure.
More than 6,000 people attended the Huron County Fair Thursday, which featured events such as the small livestock sale and ATV races.
The exact figure was 6,370, down from 8,095 in 2006 and 8,231 in 2005.
Fair director Barney Bacon attributed the decrease in attendance to high gas prices and the struggling economy.
The streak of nice weather continued. “The rain held off, that was good,” Bacon said.
Thursday’s offerings included the small livestock sale and ATV races.
Bellevue High School freshman Megan Hunker, who is battling kidney disease and will require a transplant, sold her Grand Champion Boer Goat for $500 at the small livestock sale to help pay her medical expenses. She was one of many youngsters selling their animals at the auction, which raked in $98,217, down from about $115,000 last year, and $110,000 in 2005.
About 60 racers competed in the first ATV races held at fair. Three men crashed their ATVs during the competition and had to be taken to Fisher-Titus Medical Center, with one then being flown by helicopter to another hospital.
Despite the injuries, fair board member Steve Eden said he considered the event successful. He said all racers were required to wear protective gear. “Any motorized event, you’re going to take that chance,” Eden said. “There’s a risk.”
Also Thursday, auctioneer G.A. Pickworth, who has been in the business for more than 40 years, was honored with a sign bearing his name will be erected outside the judging pavilion.
Willard High School senior Nathan Benich won the 2007 Showman of Showmen contest, a highlight of the fair’s fifth day.
“It’s always been one of my dreams to do it,” said the second-year participant and a member of the Willard FFA for three years. “It’s all come together and made me happy. I thought I’d done well, but I wasn’t sure how well I had done. It’s a great way to top off the fair week.”
The nearly 21⁄2-hour contest showcasedd the champion from each of the following breeds: Beef, rabbits, turkeys, goats, chickens, dairy cows and sheep. The pigs were not part of this year’s contest because of a lockdown on the swine barn. Flu-like symptoms in the pigs and two people caused the lockdown at noon.
Other highlights Friday were a sheriff’s K-9 demonstration, a square dance and demonstration and a Rough Truck competition.
The fair wraped up Saturday with events that include a large livestock sale, a demolition derby and a barn dance.
Veteran 4-H exhibitor Katie Sparks was “ecstatic” when Ralph Walcher, the owner of Walcher’s Peach Orchard, bought her market steer beef carcass for a whopping $4,100.
“I was thrilled,” said the 19-year-old Norwalk resident, who is in her 12th and final year of showing market steers.
There were 269 total lots sold Saturday for a total of $161,452.26. Last year, 363 lots sold for $182,923.
Even though the Huron County Fair Board had to deal with swine flu in the pig barn, president Bob Morgan said the fair was “a beautiful week” and gate receipts were up about $18,000 over last year.
Except for the pigs, Mother Nature smiled on the fair this year. “We had great weather. Every night was great attendance,” Morgan said. “The Rodney Atkins concert and the demolition derby were the biggest events, but everything was good.”
Morgan said the rise in gate receipts might be attributed to the $1 price increase in this year’s tickets to make daily tickets $7. “We hadn’t raised the price for 12 years,” Morgan said. “We hated to do it, but it was something we had to do.”
Morgan said area residents are realizing that weekly passes for $22 are a great deal for people who want to visit the fair more than once. The office sold more weekly passes, which do not include rides, this year than previously.