Eating Champ

Connor Briggs showed off that he was the first to finish in the Fruit Roll-Ups eating contest at the Franklin County Fair. The contest was held Saturday, June 9, for kids between the ages of 8 and 15. — Missourian Photo/Joe Barker.

Change was a good thing for the Franklin County Fair. 

After the Fair ended Sunday, Fair Chairman Robby Keen called it a success. The four-day Fair ran from June 7-10 at the Jaycee Fairgrounds in Union. 

This year the organizers switched things up — some by choice, others by necessity. Organizers were curious what the reviews would be. Early reports are positive.

“We were very pleased,” Keen said. “We had a much better Fair. I enjoyed seeing the large amount of people out — seeing everyone happy and having a good time.”

In years past, the Fair had always been scheduled in early-July. Because of the availability of a sled for the tractor pull, the schedule had to be altered this year.

Organizers moved the Fair up a month and changed the daily schedule. Keen said the event portion of Friday and Saturday nights was built around the motor sports. 

Friday night featured the demolition derby and Saturday had tractor pulls. Both events drew large crowds, Keen said. 

“I would say that the fairgoers definitely liked the schedule change,” he said. 

The rest of the Fair was busy, too. Keen said the midway was “packed” most nights. 

The midway was home to the another major change at the Fair. After years of using the same company, the board switched vendors and went with Fun Time Shows.

Keen said the move worked out well. He said he heard many positive reports.

“I think everyone enjoyed the new rides,” he said.

Keen said he also came away impressed with Fun Time Shows behind the scenes. 

“It was quite the upgrade,” he said. 

Organizers had hoped that moving the Fair up a month might provide some better weather. That was partially the case — it still felt like summer, but there wasn’t a cloud in the sky and it didn’t rain.

“The weather was almost perfect,” Keen said. “We couldn’t have asked for much better, besides maybe 20 degrees cooler, but we’re not going to be super picky.”

Keen said overall, the switch to June and changing of ride vendors ended up working out well.

Overall Keen said the 2018 Fair was a success.

“It seemed like the Fair did really well this year,” he said. “There were a large amount of attendees each night.”

Keen said one of the most memorable moments of the Fair happened on the closing day. During Sunday’s field class tractor pull, a memorial was held for Kaileigh Weaks.

The longtime competitor at the Fair, Weaks was killed in a vehicle crash a week ago. Her family and friends gathered at the Fair to honor her.

Keen said it was a special moment. 

Next Year

Planning for the 2019 Fair is likely to start next month, he said. One thing that will be discussed will be when to hold the event.

Keen said he couldn’t speak for the board, but he enjoyed the June version of the event. He said it felt being earlier in the year helped with attendance.

Keeping the Fair in June will definitely be discussed, he said. 

Also on the agenda for planning is getting more volunteers. The lone downside this year was the organizers were short on manpower, Keen said.

Volunteer workers had to work lengthy schedules, Keen said. In the future, he said he’d like to see more people get involved to lighten the workload. 

The Fair Board currently has some openings if anyone is interested in joining.

“Its a good time for someone to come in and see if they have other ideas,” he said. 

The Fair can be reached via its Facebook page, The board traditionally meets the third Thursday of the month at Hagie’s in Union, Keen said.