09/29/11 — Fair weather? Clear.

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Fair weather? Clear.

By Kenneth Fine
Published in News on September 29, 2011 1:46 PM

There was no "opening Thursday" at the Wayne Regional Agricultural Fair last year.

It was far too wet to open the midway.

So when Fair Director Milton Ingram checked the 10-day forecast this morning and saw blue skies and clear nights in his future, a hint of cautious optimism set in.

Perhaps this year, he thought, attendance at the 10-day event will eclipse the 100,000 mark.

"It was very encouraging, but we still have to just go with the flow," Ingram said. "You can't control the weather."

The 63rd edition of the fair kicks off today and the man charged with laying the framework for its success said he believes this could be one of the best in history.

"We have really got a good fair in place," Ingram said.

Agriculture and horticulture entries are up this year despite the tough year local farmers have experienced.

The livestock shows are always a big draw each year at the fair.

Eileen Coite, livestock extension agent, said chickens and rabbits are still coming in today, but there is a good variety of exhibits so far.

Opening night of the livestock shows promises to be a good one, she said.

"Everything seems to be going on schedule," Ms. Coite said. "Animals are coming in, and the weather looks good. On this nice sunny day, it looks like we'll have a good start to everything."

She said there were already a number of animals in the barns early this morning, including horses, cattle, goats and even alpacas.

"It looks like we've got a good variety of species of animals this year," Ms. Coite said.

She said the most competitive category of animals in the youth shows will be either the lambs or goats because the youths travel to several different shows on the showmanship circuit. Wayne County's fair will be one of the last two shows they will go to.

The largest category of entries this year is the goats with 84 children registered to show their animals, 25 being Wayne County residents.

There are 72 children registered for the lamb show and 15 are from Wayne County. In the heifer show, 35 children will be showing their animals and two are from Wayne County.

In the hog show, 15 children are register with five being Wayne County residents.

A freshly paved track will allow those who attend to experience the midway like never before.

"That's just going to create a whole new world out there," Ingram said.

Then throw in bull-riding, livestock shows, the popular demolition derby, Western Gun Fight and other attractions and "I feel like I've got an excellent fair."

But despite a lineup he feels is second to none being offered at county fairs across the state this fall, Ingram has still felt the pressure associated with maintaining the high standard the Wayne fair has become known for.

"I feel immense pressure -- have for the last three weeks really," he said. "We want every light bulb burning. We want every handicapped sign up. We're trying to get every little thing done.

"I'm a detail fanatic."

And his hope is that his attention to detail -- and the hard work of his team -- will result in record attendance numbers once the lights finally cut on and the music starts blaring from the rides along the midway.

"To me, an ideal fair is if we hit the 100,000 mark," he said. "That would be a successful fair and I feel like it's falling into place this year."