TROY — The barn doors are closing on another year, and despite weather issues, organizers have a sunny attitude on a soggy situation.
With a great start to the fair on Friday — a hot and sunny day — the weather declined by Saturday, bringing rain and overcast skies most every day of the remaining week.
Miami County Fair secretary/manager Jill Wright said the fairgrounds have not been this wet during a fair since the floods of 1995 that happened less than two weeks prior to the opening of the fair.
“The fair went as well as what Mother Nature handed us,” Wright said. “I’ve never seen so many umbrellas and ponchos.”
Saturday’s truck and tractor and draft horse pulls were canceled, as well as the Kid’s Day activities scheduled for Monday. However, the free entry for children with paying adults on Monday was still honored, according to Wright.
“It’s unfortunate that some things were unable to go on, but we were doing our best,” Wright said.
Miami County Fair Board President Mike Jess agreed.
“That’s not too bad, considering the amount of rain,” Jess said.
Beyond that, some of the junior fair horse events also had to be canceled for the safety of the children and the horses, Wright said. Others had to be rescheduled, some even being held in the grass behind the horse arena.
“We had to restructure events and fit them in around the rain,” Wright said.
Jess said they were worried the Sunday concert and harness racing events would have to be canceled, but were able to all be completed. He said as of now, the extra day of harness racing likely will continue next year. The annual Livestock Scramble also went well, with many in attendance, he said.
“I was happy with that,” Jess said.
He said the concert wasn’t sold out, but he was pleased with the crowd that Chris Janson, Carter Winter and Jameson Rodgers brought to the stadium.
“The concert went smooth, wasn’t a sell-out, but I thought we had good attendance,” Jess said.
The 4-H members also rallied during the week, making the best of a sodden situation.
“The kids have done good, they have made the best of it with the showings, and they could have fun with the mud,” Wright said.
“The kids just accepted it,” Jess said. “They brought out their boots and coats and went on.”
Wright said she is thankful for all of the outside support the fair board received to deal with the muddy issues on the fairgrounds.
“As much rain as we had, the county has been excellent with getting gravel out, and helping us keep the driveways in good condition … without even being asked, they just did it,” Wright said. “That’s what makes the fair so successful, the partnerships with the other county entities.”
Local businesses also have stepped up to help improve conditions, she said, donating shavings for the barns, gravel, trucks to transport gravel and more.
She said the concessionaires also have been very understanding, knowing the fair board could not control the weather.
“We’re all in the same boat. It’s just what life handed us this year,” Wright said.
With cover, Wright said the Entertainment Tent was popular this year, showcasing lots of local talent — all free with admission.
“It’s free and it’s great entertainment,” Wright said.
The number of fair-goers passing through the gates was down compared to last year, with Wednesday being the best attendance day, Jess said. Actual numbers are still being compiled, he said. But both Wright and Jess are thankful to those who braved the raindrops for a little midway fun.
“We are happy with the people that came out and supported us rain or shine,” Wright said. “Next year, we are hoping for more shine than rain.”
Organizers already have began to plan for next year and will bring the pros and cons of this year’s event to the table at their next board meeting in September, according to Wright. She said ideas for future fairs are welcome by calling the secretary’s office at 335-7294, emailing at [email protected] or stopping by the office during business hours. However, she reminds that planning already is underway, and by March or April, when some people have offered ideas in the past, it is sometimes too late.
“We’re always looking for something new, and we’re open to suggestions,” she said.
There is one thing they hope to change for next year, however.
“I just want to thank everyone for coming out and supporting us this year, and sorry about the weather,” Jess said. “We hope we can change the weather for next year.”
Reach Melody Vallieu at (937) 552-2131.