JEFFERSON — Organizers said they believe that the 166th Jefferson County Fair ended on a high note with the heat not impacting attendance in any great way.
The fair ended its five-day run on Sunday at Jefferson County Fair Park.
“Other than Friday night, we really didn’t have any rain and had clear skies,” Jefferson County Fair Park marketing/administrative assistant Amy said. “It looked like everyone was having fun. It was a little hot, but everyone came out and enjoyed all of our events that we had.From the crowds that I saw and the number of people that were there and attended all the shows, I think that the heat was not that big of a factor,” Listle added. “It was hot and it was humid a lot of days, but I think everyone handled it really well and continued to enjoy the fair.”
Preliminary attendance numbers were not available by deadline.
A staple of the Jefferson County Fair are the Friday and Saturday concerts held at the grandstands. This year, country music singers Travis Tritt and Randy Houser were scheduled for Friday and Saturday, respectively.
However, the Tritt concert was canceled due to inclement weather. Listle said it was a decision made in a “combined effort.
“We had a team of people that were backstage,” Listle noted. “Between the fair staff and the sheriff’s office and the production crew and Tritt’s management and the National Weather Service, we made a decision that safety was the number-one priority and that, unfortunately, we had to cancel the show.
“We do have a no-refund policy, so we did not give any refunds for any of the concert tickets on Friday night,” she continued, adding that reserved seating or party pit tickets were not included in gate admission.
Tritt’s opening act, Madison County, was able to complete its set prior to the storm rolling in.
“Madison County was set to go on at 7 p.m.,” Listle said. “Our original weather report said that the storm was going to be coming later and it came a lot sooner than we were expecting. We did cancel Madison County in the Miller Lite Tent later that night because we kept having a lot of lightning and, with the tent having metal and aluminum poles in it, we thought the safest option was to not continue with that show either.”
Houser’s concert took place as planned Saturday.
Listle said that she heard many “great comments” about the family shows, which included the aerial acrobatic High Flying Pages show, Brant the FireGuy and the Sea Lion Splash. Also well received were Mr. Ed’s Magical Midway carnival, the fair food and grandstand entertainment.
“We had a new demo derby promoter this year and it seemed like there were a lot more people in the stands,” she said. “We had about 50 cars yesterday and we had 30 cars last year, so we grew the demo derby quite a bit. We’re hoping to continue to grow it.”
Along with the new promoter, International Demolition Derby Inc., came a few changes in rules.
“Obviously, each county fair is different,” Dennis Nelson, co-owner of the company, said. “There’s different guys and girls and what they want to build in cars, so you have to accommodate rules based on what the local people want, because local people and drivers are what make the event what it is.
“People don’t drive 150 miles — in most cases — to do the demolition derby,” he continued. “The core of the drivers are local guys, so that’s why rules have to adapt to what people want.”
This year, there were some new classes of cars and larger trucks than in previous years.
“What I like about all the fairs, this one included, is it’s a fair, it’s family-oriented,” Nelson said. “This is my family and my friends that own and run International Demolition Derby (Inc.). We meet a lot of local people and, frankly, become friends with some of them.”
Overall, she said, the fair was a success.
“I think the fair went really well,” she said. “We appreciate everyone who came out and had a great time with us this week. We look forward to the 2019 Jefferson County Fair, which will be July 10-14.”