Blistering heat and damaging storms account for a dip in attendance during the four-day Franklin County Fair, officials said.
Franklin County Fair Chairman Sarah Lackey said there was one event canceled, the FFA pet-a-pet, but all other events did take place. The FFA event was canceled for the safety of the animals.
“The storms we experienced on Saturday and Sunday were more challenging than the heat,” said Lackey. “Public safety is always our top priority so during the storms we encouraged all of those on the grounds to seek shelter in one of the permanent structures available.”
Storms and the threat of more severe weather Saturday prompted Fair officials to postpone the Hotel California concert until Sunday night following the demolition derby.
On Sunday, high winds blew down tents and canopies on the fairgrounds.
“Attendance for the Hotel California concert was down, however, severe weather was a possibility as the time for the concert approached,” Lackey said. “Rain shortened the show, however, we cannot thank the band enough for staying an extra night in order to perform.”
The baby contest was delayed Sunday night, Lackey added, but there were still many participants for the event that went on about an hour later than scheduled.
“The demolition derby start was delayed as the track had to be repaired following heavy rainfall,” Lackey said. “However, when the car smashing began there was a very large crowd in attendance to watch the show.”
Despite the weather and heat, there were some events that did attract fairgoers.
“The tractor pull and demolition derby drew large crowds,” said Lackey. “We had several more entrants in the tractor pull than anticipated, however, everyone was very cooperative and kept things moving.”
In front of the tractor show crowd, there was tribute to longtime board member Leonard Brautigam who died in October 2011.
“That was the highlight of the evening for myself and several others,” said Lackey. “It was a very fitting tribute to a wonderful individual who is greatly missed.”
Lackey noted that the Fair Board will meet later this month to discuss improvements and new ideas for next year.