Changes this year included putting more space between the concessionaires and adding more seating areas.
By JENNINE ZELEZNIK
and STEPHEN SIFF
VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF
BAZETTA -- For a fair known throughout the region for its bad weather, this year's forecast was a godsend -- and a major contributor to some pretty impressive attendance figures.
The whole week of the 2001 Trumbull County Fair, temperatures stayed in the 70s and 80s, with low humidity and no real rain.
"It's been perfect all the way through the week," Don Nelson, a fair board member, said. "What will it take to get people out if we can't get them out this year?"
"It has been exceptional. Everybody seemed to be enjoying themselves. I didn't hear a single complaint," added fair board president Bob Biery, Jr.
Friday's attendance, 10,648, was especially better than last year's 1,754.
Part of the reason was a lack of tornado warnings, but another factor was the fair's headlining show, country trio Rascal Flatts.
High turnout: Biery said that show had the highest turnout for any grandstand event since Willie Nelson played here in the '70s.
"It filled the stadium," he said. "It was packed from the grandstands to the stage."
Even the draft horse shows did better this year.
"Three years ago, we couldn't get five wagons," Biery said. "And they just come in droves now."
Some successful changes the fair board made this year included putting more space between the concessionaires and adding more seating areas for fairgoers, said Bud Rodgers, concession manager and fair board member.
"Seating was a big thing," he said. "Instead of having to eat an ear of corn with one hand and holding a stuffed animal in the other while walking down the midway, you could sit down, and enjoy your food."
He added that there were also many more exhibits this year.
"Farm machinery, car dealerships, snow plows, ATVs -- even an Anderson tour bus," Rodgers said. "Every exhibit you can think of."
Hard-working kids: The Junior Fair also had a successful year, according to Jan Solomon, advisor to the junior fair board.
"The kids turned out to be really good workers, really well organized," Solomon said.
This year, 587 4-H members had projects at the fair, down from 650 last year. However, more members of other groups, such as Camp Fire, Future Farmers of America, Future Homemakers of America, Girl Scouts and Explorers participated in the Junior Fair.
"It's really good to see them all work together," Solomon said.
At the market livestock show, 4-H'ers raised over $152,000 compared to last year's $147,000, Solomon said. One hundred and thirty five 4-H'ers sold 230 animals in the sale.
"Fewer animals [than last year], but more money," she said. "The bidders were very gracious."
The best-selling animal was the charity hog, raised by Joe Meloni and Vince Stull from the Badger Pork Raisers. They raised the animal to benefit a 7-year-old Bobby Rhine of Fowler, who has cancer.
The 214-pound pig sold for $7 per pound, Solomon said. The buyers were Schwartz farms of Fowler and W.I. Miller and Sons of Gustavus.
Jonathan Robinson, 16, sold his 1,273-pound Grand Champion steer for $3 per pound.
After spending a week at the fair, though, he's "ready to go home."
With almost $4,000 in his pocket, he can take it easy -- but not for long.
In October, he plans to buy another steer, and start getting it ready for next year's fair.