Feedback upbeat for new fair features

Thursday, August 2, 2007 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 10:48 a.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Another fair has ended, and it has left Boone County Fairgrounds board members with a lot of positive feedback.

“We had more people, wonderful weather, new events and larger crowds,” said George Harris, general manager of the fairgrounds.

Vicki Russell, president of the Boone County Fair board, said the weather was cooperative the entire week, with the exception of the Friday night thunderstorm that forced the board to cancel the Garden Tractor Pull, which was a new event.

Russell said all other scheduled events “went off without a hitch.”

In 2006, the fair drew 98,970 people, according to Harris. This year’s attendance was 99,157 people, and Harris was sure that if it hadn’t rained on Friday, attendance would have been more than 100,000.

Other new events included Veteran’s night on Monday, with free admission for veterans; Nashville recording artist, Sue Kennedy, who performed Saturday night; and the mechanical bull ride.

It was the Hedrick’s Educational Petting Zoo, however, that stole the show. Both Harris and Russell said they received a lot of positive comments about the new attraction.

Joe Hedrick, president of Hedrick Promotion, said he received many compliments from spectators as well. He said that they had adults who enjoyed the entertainment just as much as the kids did. Hedrick said the variety of the petting zoo is what makes it attractive.

The zoo included a plethora of exotic animals that were small enough to fit in a tent and close enough for young children to touch and feed. A 10-month-old giraffe, a kangaroo, a 70-year-old tortoise, an emu and a zebra all made appearances.

Hedrick’s Petting Zoo also held the pig races. Pigs raced around a small course, four at a time. The first one to eat the Oreo cookie placed at the end of the course won.

The event was tailored towards people of all ages. Adults were chosen to be “cheerleaders” for each pig, and they stood in the middle of the course with pompoms. The pigs were introduced at the beginning of each race with names such as Lindsay Lo-Ham, Elvis Pigsly and Piggy Hilton.

“The pig races and the petting zoo were a big hit,” Harris said. “They were very well received.”

Hedrick had plenty of positive feedback for the Boone County Fair, too.

“It’s right up there with the best of the county fairs that we do,” Hedrick said. “Nice facilities, nice people to work with. We were impressed with it.”

Members of the Boone County Fair board are already thinking of new events and other ways to make next year’s fair even better.

“We start working on next year’s fair before this year’s fair is even over,” Russell said. “By March of ‘08 we should have a pretty full schedule.”

Russell said the goal is to keep the fair fun and interesting, but there are some traditional events that are a must-have.

The demolition derby, the talent show, the livestock contests and the beauty pageant are some events that Russell suspects people would be “pretty disappointed if they weren’t there year after year.”

Russell also joked that a rebellion might start if the baby contests weren’t there.

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