The 123rd Adams County Fair is coming to a close, and at press time the fair has been a big success. Attendance has been up considerably, and a jam-packed schedule of events has kept the crowds entertained.
The hot weather and rain kept Sunday’s numbers low, resulting in only 1,333 admissions, down from 2013 with 1,488 admissions, 2012 with 1,427, 2011 with 1,764, and 2010 with 2,155. However, numbers have gone up since Sunday. Monday saw 1,467 admissions which was higher than every previous year since 2010 which had 1,717.
Tuesday had even greater numbers at 1,633, which is the highest Tuesday turn-out in seven years, and almost doubled 2013’s Tuesday admissions of 969.
Wednesday saw a slight decrease in admissions from Tuesday with 1,584 entries, but compared to 2013 with 746, 2012 with 860, 2011 with 1,311, and 2010 with 1,081 it continues the trend of having a major upswing in attendance.
Secretary of the Fair Board Darlene Anderson thinks it is a combination of factors, but can’t be sure.
“Is it because we have great gate workers that are charging everybody? Is it because the weather is great? We changed up the entertainment a little it, so is it because of that?” Anderson questioned.
When asked, most people think it is the cool, autumn-like weather the county has been experiencing that is drawing many people.
However, even the small changes to events were drawing larger audiences. Several horse shows were moved to the center ring this year, drawing people to the grandstands to see the kids and adults ride their horses through time trials and obstacle courses.
The Shady Tree Park area nestled behind the animal barns saw an uptick in participants as well. Adults can be found sitting at the picnic tables and chairs, enjoying a breather in the shade, while kids use the archery range and play the games set up.
On Wednesday, Jenny Richards, Naturalist for Shawnee State Park, showed off the park’s reptile collection to a group of kids and parents. The venomous Timber Rattlesnake and Northern Copperhead were kept in locked boxes with glass covers so kids could see them. Richards said she would get the Rattlesnake out at Shawnee State Park for anyone interested, stating that it was born in captivity and is quite docile.
“It will just lie there and let you take pictures. Eventually he gets tired of being outside and wants back in his cage,” she said.
Richards pulled out an Eastern Fence Lizard, which seemed content to sit in anyone’s hand and just watch the crowd with a half-interested look. Richards says he is likely to remain a permanent resident of the collection.
“He just eats and eats. He seems content to sit there and let us feed him. See how fat he is?”
Richards then introduced three snakes to the crowd. The largest of the two were the Black Rat snake, which she had caught three weeks ago, and the other is a King snake they have had for years. The King snake seemed happy to just sit in people’s hands without moving, tasting the air. The Rat snake, though, was much more active and curious, as it slithered from one person’s hands to another.
On Thursday, the Shade Tree Park area exhibited birds of prey, including owls and hawks.
Another section of the fair seeing a lot of activity is the helicopter tour in the Midway. Stratus Helicopters has been offering a tour of the outskirts of West Union for $40.
“We’ve given over 60 tours so far, averaging a little over 30 a day,” said the owner, Steve Paquette. “If we maintain this rate, I would say this has been a success for us.”
Whether it is the fantastic weather, the changes to events, the helicopter rides, or the presentations on display in Shade Tree Park, the 2014 Adams County Fair has been a big a success.