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Board happy with fair turnout

By Staff | Jul 12, 2013

Even though he won’t know the financial numbers until next week, Pierce County Fair Board president Don Jelsing is confident that this year’s fair was a success.

Jelsing said the addition of a carnival as well as big drawing musical acts like 32 Below helped attract a number of fairgoers.

“I think everything went very well,” Jelsing said. “We don’t have gate admission unlike some fairs that know how many people went through the gate.”

Jelsing said it was estimated that 800 people attended the opening-night musical performance by 32 Below, and another big draw was the ranch rodeo, with upwards of 300 people in the stands.

But Jelsing said the biggest difference was in the activity in the afternoon, which he attributed to the Mighty Thomas Carnival.

“What I noticed was the number of people and kids at the fairgrounds in the middle of the afternoon,” he said. “With $20 wristbands for rides where you could ride all day long, that improved the situation.”

He said there was also good participation for the 4-H and open class events.

Jelsing said the fair crew has spent most of the week cleaning up and will attack the financial figures next week, but he’s confident the fair was also an economic success.

“Obviously it’s about more than money, but money is driving it in a realistic world,” he said. “We have been spending every night down there cleaning. We’ll be discussing that next week. My gut feeling from past years I feel safe in saying we’ll be in the black this year, in part thanks to the sponsors and other donations we get. We couldn’t do something like that and sustain it on tickets and admission only. We’ve had such wide support, not only from the people in town but from the people in the rural county who have seen a positive thing in the fair.”

Jelsing said there was more than 100 entries in the fourth of July parade.

He added that he’d like to bring the carnival back next year, but that may depend on timing and, possibly, the community reaching out to express their enjoyment with the rides.

“The fair board feels very good. We took the chances of bringing in a carnival and crossing our fingers that it’ll be available again next year,” he said. “We are a small fair, and carnivals need some other venues available to tap into. We’re hoping they have it in their schedule to come back to Rugby again. I think it’d help a lot if people could speak up and write to the Thomas Carnival and tell them how much they appreciated it.”

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