Rain dampens county fair receipts

Published 12:00 am Monday, July 17, 2000

ROME TOWNSHIP – It rained.

Monday, July 17, 2000

ROME TOWNSHIP – It rained. But three demolition derbies kept the crowds interested.

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It rained some more. But 75 to 100 people sat in the mud to hear Exile anyway.

"If the rain had just held off two to three hours last night it would have been better," fair board member Leslie Brock said Saturday.

Board president Doug Clark agreed, adding that an extra large concert crowd would have been better, yet rained soaked the board’s anticipated receipts.

"Friday’s usually our big night but not this time," Clark said.

The Wednesday night bullriding attracted the most people and the most cash for the fair board’s yearly volunteer effort.

Overall, the 2000 Lawrence County Fair turned out well, Clark said.

"Considering the weather we’ve had it’s not bad," he said. "I’d say gate receipts are down 35 to 40 percent from normal."

The fair board, which organizes the week’s events, plays host to 4-H and FFA animals, schedules nightly entertainment, books the carnival and enrolls dozens of volunteers for the annual event, expects enough monetary return at each year’s fair to keep the next one going plus make improvements.

"Friday night, we had projected our typical crowd but we didn’t get that much," Clark said.

A severe thunderstorm swept through the eastern Lawrence County area just in time to hit the concertgoers.

"We control a lot of things but that we can’t," Clark added.

Fair board members are still in good spirits, though, especially with all the excited fairgoers who commented on having a good time this week, he said.

"We had minimal trouble, the bullriding was a great night, we had a great carnival here and wonderful food booths," Clark said.

The demolition derbies also really attracted the crowd, just as expected, Brock said.

The fair board even scheduled three this year instead of two.

"Those crowds will stay through anything to watch them," he said.

A new 4-H food booth turned a few heads this year, although the air conditioning was not installed in time, Clark said.

The booth featured new space for cooks and club members to serve the public and make money for their clubs, he said.

"And the fans they had set up kept it relatively cool, but this week wasn’t as hot as last year’s fair week, either," Clark said. "Really, I enjoyed this fair and most people did. It’s really for the kids, you know."

Clark said the fair board will consider more construction and improvements on the grounds for next year.

And, of course, the planning begins this week – as always, he said.