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Clark: Rain hurt fair attendance

ROME TOWNSHIP - While periodic downpours did not seem to affect attendance, heavier rains resulted in much lighter traffic as the Lawrence County Fair drew to a close.

Fair Board President Doug Clark said this year's attendance was down by 30 to 40 percent. Wednesday night, the truck and tractor pull was cancelled, causing attendance to be down by 75 percent. Wednesday, Clark said, is usually one of the fair's biggest nights. Even though the parking lot was full Friday night, attendance was still lower than usual, Clark said.

Despite lower attendance, those attending the fair have enjoyed this year's improvements, according to fair board members.

With air conditioning units donated by the Liebert Corp. and doors donated by Ohio University Southern, the Jonas Payne building was a favorite spot for fairgoers to cool off, Clark said. Besides Liebert and OUS, Clark commended the work of fairgrounds caretaker Frank Call and his wife Emma for spending months painting the building.

"People are ecstatic about it," Fair Board Vice President Albert "Mouse" Childers said regarding the building. "It's one of the best assets we've had for a while."

Childers also mentioned that the fairgrounds have a new set of aluminum bleachers, which can keep another 500 people off their feet for grandstand events. Also, this year's fair had an electrical upgrade and new water facilities for those in the campgrounds and better electricity in the lower midway.

Childers also mentioned that attendance during and after the heavy rains was still higher than what he expected it would be.

With the exception of rain and heavy amounts of mud that resulted, Clark said the fair had minimal problems, especially from the crowds.

"Overall, we had a successful fair," Clark said. "We would like to thank the 4-H and FFA community as well as the general public itself."

"Everything went smoothly this year," Perry Brock, livestock committee chairman, said.

Brock also commended the 245 buyers that came to support the 4-H livestock sales Friday and Saturday because the children look forward to the buyers showing them support for the work they have done on their projects.