10/11/09 — Economy helps fair

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Economy helps fair

By Matthew Whittle
Published in News on October 11, 2009 2:00 AM

Despite a wet final day, Wayne Regional Fair Manager Milton Ingram said Saturday evening that he was pleased with how this year's event had turned out.

"We have really had an exciting fair in place this year," he said. "When the weather has been pretty, we've had huge crowds."

And while the rain hurt attendance Monday, Tuesday and Saturday, he said people seemed to come in stronger-than-usual numbers on Thursday and Friday.

"Friday was one of the biggest nights ever here -- bigger than even the first Friday," he said. "I think we've been very successful in spite of a few days of inclement weather."

Events such as the Queen of the Fair pageant, the demolition derbies and the various contests drew people in as usual, he said, but it was new attractions like the Star Family Circus, the new rides from Powers Great Amer-ican Midway and, surprisingly, the 9-foot tall Rock-It Robot.

"I've been here a long time and I've never seen a response to anything like people are responding to him," Ingram said. "People just flock to him."

Ingram said that he's not quite sure yet how many people attended this year's fair, but estimated it to be in the neighborhood of 100,000.

He explained that the number can be hard to come up with because only a portion of the people who attend the fair are paying customers. Others get in for free because they're working at a booth or are participating in a contest.

"On a good year, conservatively, we'll have 100,000 people, and I feel like we're probably going to be in that area again," he said. "We turn in a tremendous amount of people."

Which, he added, is exactly what they want.

"The better our attendence is, the more money we have to make improvements, give scholarships and do the things we do for the community," he said.

But first and foremost what they strive do is put on a high-quality fair.

"We really have a huge variety of things, and we've had a lot of positive comments this year. One person came up to me and said this was a mini-state fair," Ingram said. "And I just want to thank everyone who's been involved. It just takes lots of people to make this work. I don't think there is any question that this is the biggest annual event in Wayne County."

He believes that helping the fair this year was the economy.

"I believe a lot of people have opted to come here because of the ride bargain and other bargains," he said. "We've had a very successful fair this year. The weather hurt us a little bit, but people are loyal and came anyway."

And they try to return the favor, by working to make the fair bigger and better every year -- a process that's already begun for the 2010 edition.

"We've already started books some entertainment for next year," Ingram said, adding that Powers recently signed a multi-year contract. "With this one in place, we've already started getting ready for the next one."