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Fair board pleased

By Staff | Aug 3, 2009

Jodell Sanders of Elmore ‘hams it up’ after winning the Ugliest Sweater Contest at the fair. To see more photographs of this fair, log on to http://cu.faribaultcountyregister.com or turn to Pages 19 and 20 in this week’s edition.

Although the numbers haven’t been tallied yet, organizers of this year’s Faribault County Fair have a good feeling the results could be better than last year.

Fair board president Daryl Murray and other board members spent several days after the final day Sunday cleaning up and putting things back in order at the fairgrounds.

While Murray has had little time to think about how this year’s fair did financially, one thing is certain.

“There were a lot of positive comments and very few complaints. Quite different than last year,” he says.

Keeping an accurate head count of fair-goers is difficult, says Murray.

One gauge of attendance is the amount of vehicles parking on the grounds daily.

Murray describes parking as “full’ on most days and “overflowing” on Wednesday.

He estimates 20,000 to 25,000 people went through the gates. That would be an increase over last year.

Fair board member Milton Steele agrees with Murray that there may have been a slight increase in attendance.

“I thought the groundswere more crowded than I’ve seen in years,” Steele says.

Murray says by September he should have a financial report ready for the county commissioners.

An increase in attendance does not necessarily mean there will be a profit.

Murray says it costs more than $150,000 to hold the fair. This year, the county allocated $22,500 in funding.

“We’ll consider the fair to be a success if the income meets expenses. And, I think it will be a successful fair,” he says.

Two new events proved to be very popular.

The Fast Horses’ nine performances and Extreme Screen Events drew large crowds, says Murray.

Learning from last year’s experience, the fair board made sure rides would be available for all ages and signed a contract with Minnesota Magic Midway Inc.

“I think people really associate a fair with having a carnival,” he says. “To them rides are a big part of the fair.

Commissioner Tom Warmka believes the fair has improved the past few years.

He says board members have made some changes and brought in new attractions to try and boost attendance.

“They’re trying extremely hard to turn this around. Things there were kind of stagnant there for awhile, but now there are a lot of new and fresh ideas,” he says.

Rising costs are making it difficult for county fairs to finish in the black.

Yet, Warmka feels the county fair will be OK financially in years to come.

“If they can turn a very small profit I think they’ll be fine with the other income they will have coming in,” he says.