Deputies helped reduce the number of people who skipped paying.
By MONICA BOND
VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF
BAZETTA -- This year, rain wasn't the culprit; the heat and forecasts kept people away from Trumbull County Fair last week.
Board president Richard Roscoe said the few scattered rainstorms during fair week didn't hurt attendance, but the 90-degree temperatures and forecasts calling for scattered storms did.
"They were calling for on and off showers and lightning storms. That'll naturally keep people away," he said.
This year's attendance was 50,000, about 4,000 fewer than last year's totals, Roscoe said. Overall attendance was about 100,000, which included concessionaires, 4-H members and parents, competitors, and people who eluded the gatekeepers and got in for free.
"That's normal," he said. "We keep trying to cut down on the free attendance; sometimes we do, sometimes we don't."
Additional deputies at Gate C helped keep down the number of people who slipped by, Roscoe said.
"They don't have to do anything -- the kids see the deputies standing there and they won't try anything," he said.
Sunday's demolition derby and fireworks attracted the most people, drawing 10,544 paid visitors, Roscoe said.
"I don't think anyone went home," he said. "The fireworks were a great show."
Despite the lower attendance, Roscoe expects the fair should bring in about $300,000. Money left over after expenses are paid will be used to maintain and upgrade the fairgrounds.
The board spent $65,000 on electrical upgrades before the fair, Roscoe said. Some of the electric wiring at the grounds is 35 years old. Electrical upgrades are "preventative maintenance," Roscoe said, and the board has been doing a little each year for the last four years.
"We want to make sure no one gets hurt: that's our No. 1 priority," he said.
Roscoe added the fair has an operating budget of $500,000, set in December or January. He tries to keep some money in reserve.
Additional income will come from two circuses later this summer and the Glen Christian Foundation Church Car Show on Labor Day weekend. Roscoe said the car show will feature 1,500 to 1,800 classic antique cars from 16 states.
"I've been told it's the biggest car show in this part of the Northeast," he said.
Roscoe said the cars, including Chevys from the 1950s, are beautifully cared for and the show is very organized.
"I was raised on '59s and '60s -- they're just breathtaking," he said.
The show runs Thursday through Sunday of Labor Day weekend. Entrance to the show is free, and the foundation distributes free sandwiches and drinks.