VIDEO: A fun and sun-filled Douglas County Fair
Wow, what a fair!
Picture-perfect, sunny weather - not too hot, not too cold - helped boost attendance to the Douglas County Fair.
But the turnout likely fell short of a record breaker.
The numbers are still being tallied, but it appears the four-day total attendance will be up just slightly from last year's 45,000 - shy of the 50,000 the fair organizers were hoping for.
But they're still very happy with how things went at the annual county gathering, which dates back to 1888.
"Everybody was smiling this year - the vendors, the concessionaires, the fair-goers," said Dale Buchholz, secretary of the Douglas County Agricultural Association that organizes the fair. "Our mission or goal is to provide the best experience at the fair you can get. That's what drives everything else."
Most of the new events were a hit at the fair, including the children's piggy races that took place Thursday.
"The piggy races were a hit with everyone," Buchholz said. "I had many people come up to me and say, 'I sure hope you bring that back next year. '"
Other popular new attractions were the Children's Tent, which was the scene of a variety of fun games for youngsters, and the Native American Indian Center that was set up inside a log cabin.
The center, along with the Children's Tent, were made possible through a grant from the Arts and Cultural Fund from the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment through a partnership with the Minnesota Department of Agriculture.
Buchholz said they tracked the attendance of the people walking through the center and a clicker registered more than 2,000 visitors by Friday. "That was certainly a success," he said.
New rides on the midway also added to the fair's fun.
Parking was a bit of an issue at this year's fair. With acres of parked cars trying to leave at the same time, there were some traffic jams.
Buchholz said the association plans to look into how the traffic flow can be improved.
"We're already planning for next year," he said. "We're looking in to see what changes should be made and if anything needs some tweaking."
As much as the association appreciates a pat on the back for putting on a good fair, it also encourages constructive criticism. Anyone with suggestions is encouraged to go to the website, www.mndouglascofair.com and contact one of the officers or a director. There's also a link to the association's Facebook page.
"We welcome feedback and ideas and we analyze every comment," Buchholz said.
More information about the fair, including 4-H results and a lot more photos, will be printed in a special Douglas County Fair Souvenir section in this Friday's Echo Press.
Hundreds of photos from all four days of the fair, and video, is online at www.echopress.com.
Al Edenloff Al Edenloff was born in Alexandria and later moved to Parkers Prairie where he graduated in 1979. While in high school, he wrote sports stories for the Parkers Prairie Independent. Al graduated from Moorhead State University with a degree in mass communication and started at the Echo Press as a summer intern in 1983. He worked as a reporter until 1990 when he was named editor. He's earned several writing and reporting awards from the Minnesota Newspaper Association (MNA) and the National Newspaper Association. He was presented with the Minnesota News Council's Journalism Accountability Award and is a three-time winner of the MNA's Herman Roe Editorial Writing Award. In his spare time, Al enjoys golfing, fishing, biking, watching sports, cooking and reading mystery novels.