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Echo Press photo by Lowell Anderson Douglas County Fair goers experienced the dizzying rush from the Tilt-a-Whirl Friday. Rides at the fair were a hit this year.

Big crowd enjoys the fair

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Judging by the number of people in attendance, it was another successful Douglas County Fair.

Had Thursday's weather been a little bit better, it could have been a record-breaking year, according to Dick Gulbranson, Douglas County fair board secretary.

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The four-day event boasted about 48,000 for its attendance, which is down about 500 from last year, said Gulbranson.

"It was just about a record attendance," he said in an interview Monday afternoon.

If the number of people in attendance was down, the animals made up for it. Gulbranson said there was a slight increase in the number of animals this year. Or, at least it seemed like it, he said.

"The barns were definitely full," he added, noting that the entries in the non-animal categories also seemed to increase. "The fine arts displays were especially filled up."

Gulbranson said that although there were "no major set backs or hang ups," there were a few minor incidents, which included a few bee stings, a few fender benders and a small fire in a camper.

But, fortunately, he added, nothing was serious and no one was severely injured.

The camper fire happened last Thursday, the first day of the fair. Firefighters were called to the fairgrounds shortly after 8 a.m. A camper behind the swine area reportedly caught fire. A person inside the camper suffered minor burn injuries, but did not need transport to the hospital. They were treated at the scene.

As in year's past, "Calorie Lane" was a big hit with fair-goers this year. Gulbranson said the area always seemed full.

"People were eating!" he said.

Energy Park, which was brand new to the fair this year, went over well, he noted. There were good discussions about alternate types of energy, good comments and Gulbranson said it seemed like the public enjoyed it, which made him feel satisfied.

He added there could be an expansion of Energy Park next year.

Besides Energy Park, Gulbranson said he heard many positive comments about the Public Safety Display building, the entertainment and the retired teachers, who shared their memories in the country schoolhouse.

All in all, Gulbranson said he was pleased with this year's fair. He said there were at least three and a half days of good weather.

And he noted that people could already start planning for next year's event, which has been set for August 19 through August 22.

"We [the fair board] will start planning for it shortly!" he concluded.

Note: Echo Press photographers took about 1,000 photos of the Douglas County Fair during its four-day run. Check out the photo gallery and slideshow at www.echopress.com. Also, be sure to pick up the fair souvenir edition that will be inserted in this Friday's paper.

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