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Officials, fairgoers pleased with fair mid-week

ROME TOWNSHIP - High heat and humidity and thunderstorms have not appeared to daunt Lawrence County Fair officials or those attending.

"This has been a good fair, and we're pleased," Fair Board President Doug Clark said. "The showers haven't hurt to any amount and things have went smooth."

Clark said the weather has not appeared to hurt turnout much at all. Attendance during Sunday's motocross and Monday's demolition derby was high as well as Tuesday night's performances by Fat Mac Daddy and local country singer Lee McCormack, he said.

Police presence at the fair has been high, which has also helped matters run smoothly, Clark said. Officers from the Lawrence County Sheriff's Office, Ohio State Highway Patrol, and the Athalia, Proctorville, South Point, Chesapeake and Coal Grove police departments have been patrolling the area on special detail. State law allows for deputizing locals during a county fair for the maintenance of peace and harmony, but Clark said he wanted those providing protection to be certified police officers.

At least 25 officers have been deputized, and even though the fairgrounds may not be in the jurisdiction of any other agency besides the sheriff's office, those other officers have the same authority during the fair, Clark said. Also, the officers are being paid for their extra hours by the fair board. The exception to this, he said, are sheriff's deputies working their regular shifts for the department.

"We haven't had any trouble to amount to anything," Clark said, regarding the high police presence.

The fair board also purchased the #1 Bicenntennial bell at an auction, and it plans to donate the bell to the Historic Jail at Burlington, the county's Bicentennial project.

"Dave Milem (jail committee chairman) is a tireless worker and a good friend of the fair," Clark said.

Kitts Hill resident Gail Webb also had no complaints about the fair. She came to the fair to watch her grandchildren compete in the hog competition and sentimental reasons.

"I've been coming here for a long time, since I was a little girl," she said. "I have a good time, and I get to visit with people."

Younger fairgoers were also having fun.

"There's a lot of things you can do," said Charles Barnett, 4, of Ironton. "I like the derby, Lee McCormack and the rides."

Barnett said his favorite ride at the fair is the merry-go-round because he likes the "horsies". He said he did not mind recent periods of rain, and when asked if the lightning and thunderstorms scared him, he said, "Nah."