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Jefferson County wraps up 195th fair

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The amusement rides have been shipped off and the popcorn has been swept away at the Alex T. Duffy Fairgrounds. The Jefferson County Fair is over, and the 195th event was a success, according to Fair Association President Robert D. Simpson.

“We had good entertainment this year,” he said. “Everything went well. We didn’t have any major incidents, and that’s fantastic.”

Mr. Simpson said he had not yet tallied up Sunday’s attendance, but he said this year’s total number is probably slightly less than last year’s 51,000.

“Don’t get me wrong; we had a great turnout,” Mr. Simpson said. “We probably didn’t have a lot of people come because it was so warm.”

Last week’s high temperatures ranged from the low 80s to the low 90s.

Mr. Simpson said there was no specific draw to the fair this year. People come to the fair for the livestock, the rides or events such as the demolition derby, he said. Even if a county fair is able to wrangle a big-ticket show, he said, quite often not enough seats are filled to make it worth the cost. However, with annual shows like a demolition derby, every seat probably will be filled.

During the fair, there was a rumor of a snake entering a trailer, but Mr. Simpson said there was nothing to confirm it.

“The alleged snake was only seen one time,” he said. “The trailer it was seen in was fumigated, and nothing came out. I’m not going to tell you all the rumors I’ve heard.”

He said it was likely the snake does not exist. If it did, he said, it probably was a garter snake or water snake.

One of the highlights of the week, Mr. Simpson said, was the birth of a calf in the livestock tent. The newborn stayed at the fair for a day but then was taken to its farm.

“The calf had to be taken home, because it can’t have that kind of interaction at the fair,” he said.

Although the livestock tents have yet to be dismantled, the Jefferson County Fair Association already has started planning for next year’s event.

Mr. Simpson said he has no idea what next year’s big entertainment shows will be, but he has adjusted minor issues to make the nation’s oldest consecutively running fair a little better for its 196th year.

“We made a few notes for next year,” he said. “Most of those concern the positioning of different vendors, different things.”

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