December 19, 2014

Elyria
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Fair winds down: Attendance down, but organizers are happy

WELLINGTON — Fair attendance was down from last year, but directors are happy with this year’s edition of the weeklong festival.

“Some years you hit a home run, and some years you hit a double,” Director Brian Twining said.

Director Tim Buchs agreed.

“I’ve been real pleased,” he said. “It’s actually gone fast. We didn’t have any big issues or anything.”

This year’s attendance was 126,497, down from 136,145 last year and 131,675 in 2010 but up from 113,399 in 2009. Saturday was by far the best-attended fair day with 25,007 people passing through the gates.

“The combine derby was bigger and better than ever,” Buchs said of the Saturday night entertainment.

Buchs also had plenty good to say about the fair’s Monday and Tuesday night entertainers, Justin Moore and Brantley Gilbert.

“I’ve been told by people both young and old it’s the best one-two punch of shows we’ve had ever,” he said.

Lorain County sheriff’s deputy John Steenstra said his department had no problems other than what they usually expect at the fair, such as kids fighting, lost property and drunk and disorderly arrests.

“All of our lost children were quickly returned to their parents,” he added.

Sharon Ohly, who co-chairs the Wellington Women’s League’s Cheese Sizzle booth said the group went through 1,500 pounds of cheese making their deep-fried cheese-on-a-stick.

“We had a really good year,” she said but added “it does seem like the numbers were down” with the fair in general.

She said the fair is the organization’s biggest fundraiser and generally brings in about $25,000, all of which is given back to the community in one way or another.

At the Big Dog Catering booth, owner Tim “Big Dog” Graham said his business has been up. He couldn’t say for sure how many of his popular Belly Buster burgers he’s sold, just leaving it at “It’s been a lot.”

“We want to thank all of our Belly Buster supporters,” he said, adding that ribs and pulled pork have been very popular, too.

Wellington band booster Bev Poiner estimated the group’s doughnut booth had sold about 7,500 dozen doughnuts by the time they shut down Sunday night.

“It’s been a little slow,” she said. “Of course, everyone’s got to have their doughnuts.”

The doughnut booth raises $18,000 to $20,000 for the band each year, she said.

“If it wasn’t for this, they wouldn’t have much at all,” she said.

Lifeshare Community Blood Services estimated they would hit their goal of 500 pints of donated blood by the time the fair ended.

“We’ve had a lot of donors,” said David Blessings, donor services superintendent. “Everyone’s been very generous to come out and donate with us. It’s been a very positive week.”

Two new additions to the fair were well received, according to Buchs.

The addition of standing-room tickets at the two feature entertainment shows helped energize the crowd and resulted in few problems, he said.

Additionally, “the lawn mower races went reasonably well for a first-time event,” he said.

Twining cited the Yankees being in town as one thing that took away from fair attendance.

“I think the entertainment dollar in this area gets spread a lot thinner than in other areas,” he said, such as eastern Ohio, where Canfield boasts the biggest county fair in the state.

Buchs said he’s not discouraged.

“The attendance maybe wasn’t any record, but it was definitely a good year,” he said. “We were pleased with it.”

Demolition derby results

Derby 1

  • Compact: Brad Smith
  • Stock: Kimberly Kokoski
  • 80s and newer Heat 1: Andrew Goss
  • 80s and newer Heat 2: Nathan Owens
  • 80s and newer feature: Chad Diar

Derby 2

  • Compact: Jacob Ives
  • Old iron: Bill Biljes
  • Modified: Mark Cooper
  • Full-size truck: Jeffrey Clark
  • Free-for-all: Mark Cooper