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Packing up the festivities

Organizers, confident the fair was a success, look to next year
Tuesday, August 1, 2006 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 11:23 a.m. CDT, Sunday, July 20, 2008

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Mike Dello Russo struggles to fit a fan into his Hawaiian shaved ice concession trailer Monday. He bought the fan, which he sets up to blow cool mist onto people waiting to be served, in Kansas City after experiencing the heat in Boone County last week. (SHANE EPPING/ Missourian)

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After working at the Boone County Fair last week, Jerrold Wade packs up his siding company trailer in temperatures above 100 degrees and leaves the fairgrounds on Monday. (SHANE EPPING/ Missourian)

Between pageants, tractor pulls, carnival rides and animal shows the Boone County Fair had something for everyone.

Fair-goers paid $3 to get in and witness the crowning of a new Miss Boone County Queen and 4-H contest winners, while others enjoyed carnival rides.

The fair, which ended Sunday, attracted 98,970 people.

“We were hoping for 100,000, but didn’t quite make it,” said George Harris, manager of the fairgrounds.

Though attendance fell short of the projected goal, the fair drew 18,000 more people than last year.

“I don’t think heat was as big of an issue as it was last year,” said Tracy Mulligan, fair secretary and horse show manager.

Temperatures were high, but no heat advisories were issued the week of the fair.

“We were fortunate to land on a week that wasn’t as hot as it was the week before,” she said.

Harris said that despite the heat the event was still a success.

“My favorite thing was everyone having a good time and that they enjoyed it,” he said. “... That’s what we (the board of directors) work all year for.”

Terri Fudge McGrath, who coordinates the children’s pageant, said that next year she hopes she can be more organized with her activities so she can spend more time at the fair with her kids.

“They were at the fair all week; at the talent show, tractor pull, horse show and demolition derby,” she said. “It was busy, but I thought it was a good turnout.”

This year’s fair was the third that Mulligan has worked at, but her experiences with the event go back further. When she was younger, she showed horses at the old fairgrounds.

“You remember the friendly people and the atmosphere the most,” she said.

The fair was first held in 1835, but there have been a number of years without one. Next year will mark the 60th time the fair has been held.

Harris said he and his workers are already planning for it.

“We are going over the things we want to improve on to do a ­better job for the people,” he said.


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