Despite some unseasonably cold weather that soaked the Brown County Fairgrounds, organizers of the 164th Brown County Fair have declared it a success.
Due to the poor weather during a large portion of the week, Brown County Senior Fair Board secretary Juanita Barricklow said that attendance was down about one-third from where the fair organizers expected it would be across the whole week. But Barricklow was bullish about the overall support that the fair received from across the region.
“The fair was well supported by Brown County,” Barricklow said. “I’m not sure what the end results will be financially but we did all right. There’s no official tally or anything yet but it was supported well.”
Barracklow revealed that the first day of the fair last Monday was the fair’s biggest in terms of attendance. But the cold air, wind, and rain later in the week forced Sawyer Brown indoors into a packed Danny Gray Activity Center as well as the cancellation of two tractor pulls.
“Considering the weather conditions, I thought we had a great fair,” Senior Fair Board President Orville Whalen said, trying to put a positive spin on the fair. “Of course we had two nights of tractor pull rained out and entertainment had to be held inside. That’s three big hits in the fair. But I think it was great considering the weather.”
While the senior fair events went on, the junior fair and its participants were hard at work showing their animals ahead of the Friday and Saturday sales.
“I thought it was a great success. People kept a positive attitude even with all the rainy weather,” Brown County Extension Director and 4-H Educator Christy Clary said.
Even without a number of politicians supporting the youth during the sales, families and relatives stepped up to the plate to help support the kids, who spent months raising their animals.
“I think the amount of support our kids get from parents and other relatives is great,” Clary said. “It shows what this county is all about. It wouldn’t be possible to have a strong junior fair program and 4-H program without their support. One minute they’ll be in the barn giving each other advice and the next minute they’ll be in the ring competing.”
One of the key projects the Junior Fair Board worked on this year was installing patriotic features in the fairgrounds. A patriotic mural was painted on the bathrooms behind the main ring, new American flags were donated or purchased, and Georgetown and Fayetteville students painted benches.
Clary said that the patriotism on display was very well received.
“I saw a lot of really positive reactions,” Clary said, adding that the junior fair took a break for youth to attend the veterans ceremony. “People loved seeing all the different things throughout the fair. The displays, barns, murals.People were proud of the patriotism the young people were showing throughout the fair.”
Last June, the Ohio Department of Agriculture made the preemptive decision to ban poultry from all state and county fairs, as well as exhibitions, due to the spread of avian flu. In response, youngsters who raised birds raised them as normal, but made an educational poster that was judged and eventually when it went up for sale, buyers only had a chance to look at the poster.
Clary is hopeful that poultry will be back next year, but conceded that it is ODA’s decision.
“I think it went over okay,” Clary said of not having poultry at the fair. “I think it was a new experience in general. I think people supported it. There were several people in the audience for the poster show. People would love to have birds back at the fair next year but we have to wait for ODA to tell us what we can or cannot do.”