COLUMBIA — Extreme heat indexes and occasional drizzle weren't enough to keep residents away from the annual Boone County Fair.
Dozens of events and contests attracted the public to keep a consistent participation throughout the week. Whether it be musical entertainment, animal shows or tractor pulls, Boone County offered events for people of all ages. Fair Board Director George Harris said he was pleased with this year’s fair turnout.
Harris said Sunday that fair attendance this year was 88,172, about the same as last year. Fair accountants were still calculating total income, but Harris said the fair was financially OK and it would be held again next summer.
“A big help to a lot of people was the pay-one-price deal,” Harris said Saturday. “It’s $20 and you get to ride unlimited carnival rides and go to the grandstand. It’s about a $20 savings.”
This was the first year the Boone County Fair used a deal like this.
Fair attendee Arlene Loveall said it was a great deal.
“My kids have been riding the rides since we got here at 12:30, and they’re still riding," she said at around 4:30 p.m. "I think it's something they should do every year.”
The evening entertainment and events brought in the biggest crowds. Tractor pulls and the demolition derby seemed to be the big successes this year.
Louisa Haithcoat, a member of the MU broadband mapping team, was stationed at the team’s tent at the fair for the majority of the week. From there she had a good view of the fair.
“After about 5:30 p.m. things really started to pick up," she said. "You could tell around the times the events started, the crowds would gravitate towards that direction,” referring to events such as the demolition derby and the truck and tractor pull held at the grandstand.
This was the Broadband Mapping Team's first year at the Boone County Fair, and Haithcoat said she was impressed with the turnout.
“The derby always draws people," carnival worker Cynthia Pritchard said. "They love to see the crashes and mud being slung.”
Other events such as animal shows, baby contests and carnival rides and games were enough to get families out to the fair during the day.
“It’s cooled off nice. The demolition derby's been the big winner so far, and I’ll look for a good crowd tonight at the tractor pull,” Harris said Saturday.
The fair activities concluded Saturday night with one last truck and tractor pull and the Society Horse show at 7 p.m., a live performance by Kevin Blake Weldon at 8 p.m. and the final fireworks display at 11 p.m.