Fair sizzles: Heat helps, hurts fair crowds
This year's Douglas County Fair was a sizzler - both in temperature and attendance.
The rising heat and humidity, however, may have kept the attendance down on Saturday and Sunday, according to Dale Buchholz, secretary/manager of the Douglas County Agricultural Association, the organization in charge of running the Douglas County Fair.
At an estimated 49,000 guests visiting the fair this year, Buchholz said that was about a 2 percent increase over last year's attendance.
"I can't label this a record year as I have not had a chance to look backward more than two years," he said.
Buchholz noted that the numbers for Thursday and Friday were quite high, but the weather on Saturday and Sunday impacted the attendance and cut the numbers significantly for the last two days of the fair.
There were several heat-related health issues and one fair-goer suffered a heart attack on Sunday, he said, noting that the patient is recovering. No serious accidents were reported and there was only one very minor vehicle scrape that occurred in the parking lot.
Richard Krogh, president of the Douglas County Agriculture Association, noted that the rising temps on Saturday and Sunday also affected the vendors and guests inside the Runestone Community Center.
Krogh noted that for the first time, it got so hot inside the building, fans had to be used to help pull the heat out of the building.
"We've never had to worry about that before," said Krogh. "It was the first time it was that hot in there."
Over all, Buchholz said this year's fair was quite successful.
Although there were several significant changes, including parking on the west side, Buchholz said, "Things went quite smoothly with only minor issues."
He noted that the changes that were made were done to improve the safety of fair-goers.
Krogh noted that there were some traffic issues, but that "changes were made right on the spot" and the issues were taken care of.
"The idea of free parking seemed to work," noted Krogh.
As for the food vendors down in "Calorie Lane," both Buchholz and Krogh said there was varying success.
There were good sales on both Thursday and Friday, but reduced sales on Saturday and Sunday.
"There was a good variety of food available, yet enough competition to keep the vendors on their toes," said Krogh. "We have many good food vendors who have been loyal to the fair for lots of years and continue to provide exceptional products and service."
Both the carnival and the entertainment were well received, noted Krogh. The carnival provided an excellent variety of rides for children of all ages and the entertainment stage was active throughout the fair.
The Douglas County Agriculture Association wanted to send out a thank you to all the 4H and FFA members, employees, volunteers, vendors, entertainers and people behind the scenes who made this year's fair such a success.
"And a special thank you to all of our loyal visitors who continue to attend the fair year after year," concluded Buchholz.