After a yearlong hiatus, thousands of people let loose at the 72nd Wayne County Regional Agricultural Fair.
The fair was held from Sept. 30 through Oct. 9 at 2801 U.S. 117 S. in Dudley.
This year’s fair, which lasted 10 days, featured more than 45 rides, games, delectable fried foods and sweet treats, shows and exhibits.
The fair drew nearly 95,000 people this year, said Eddie Pitzer, manager of the Wayne County Regional Agricultural Fair.
“Overall it was a good turnout,” Pitzer said. “I think we had a good run with it. Everything seemed to be safe.”
Pitzer said the fair closed Saturday due to rain but other than that, everything ran smoothly.
Pitzer said despite the strong turnout, he expects expenses will eat up the majority of the fair’s profits.
“I know that our expenses are going to be much higher than they have been in previous years, but overall we’re happy,” Pitzer said.
This year’s fair employed more than 150 fair employees and 200 traveling carnival workers, Pitzer said.
The traveling carnival workers who came out invested heavily in the local community by buying fuel, food and other necessities during their stay, Pitzer said.
“A lot of times you don’t take into consideration the diesel fuel that’s burnt or the grocery store where these people shop and buy food and spend some of their money,” he said.
“That’s a lot of people who come in and, of course, those people need necessities as they’re here for 10 days. So they’re shopping locally and buying and, of course, it takes a lot of money to ... a lot of supplies to operate the fair.”
Final revenue numbers haven’t been totaled yet, but in years past, the county fair has generated more than $200,000, although that’s before expenses are paid.
Pitzer said that, usually, all of the revenue generated goes back into the next year’s fair and is used to make repairs needed to keep the buildings and grounds maintained.
“We do have some income that’s left, but a lot of that goes back into building buildings, maintaining buildings and keeping the fairgrounds up as well as improvements that we want to make throughout the year,” Pitzer said.
Apart from a strong turnout at this year’s fair, Pitzer said the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office did a stellar job of keeping attendees safe and that with the pandemic still persisting, those attending the fair were encouraged to wear masks, socially distance and use hand-washing and sanitizing stations, which were set up throughout the fairgrounds.
The focus of this year’s fair was on agriculture and creating what Pitzer said resembles a true, typical county fair that caters to families and the community at large.
“The fair’s always been one of these community events,” he said. “You can sometimes see people you haven’t seen in a long time.
“It’s just a nice family environment for people to get together. We focus on trying to look for good family type entertainment that people can just come out and have a good time.”