Kids enjoy the carnival at the 2017 Mendota Tri County Fair. (Reporter photo by Jennifer Sommer)
MENDOTA – There was no way to blame the weather for reduced attendance at this year’s Mendota Tri County Fair. The forecast of cool temperatures and blue skies for most of Labor Day weekend proved to be true, so for those who came out to the fair it was pleasant just to be outdoors.
Fair board secretary Carol Ramer said she had no explanation for the lack of overall turn out. “The crowds were slim and there is no good reason,” she said.
On a positive note, Ramer noted that entries were up considerably this year – about double from last year. One noticeable change, however, was consolidating all of the north end entries into one building. She explained the reason for doing so was that if it had rained, they would have had to use the other building for the wrestling show that was held Sunday night.
This was the first appearance by Funky Monkey Wrestling at the fair. Ramer said although the show was not sold out, attendance was very good for the pro wrestlers.
Another well-received event was the return of the Ladies Pageant, which took place on Friday night and featured six contestants. Winning the title this year was Mike Brown and runner-up was Austin Lipe.
Also making a return appearance on Friday night was a reunion of former local band Free Beer & Chicken, who performed in the beer garden. Ramer said they were warmly received and everyone had a great time.
This year marked the 50th anniversary of the fair’s Labor Day Demolition Derby and as always, the Monday afternoon derby drew an overflow crowd. Among the participants this year was one driver who also drove in that very first derby back in 1967. “It was my husband, Paul,” Ramer laughed. “He doesn’t usually drive in the derbies any more, but since this year was special he did.”
Aside from the disappointing attendance, Ramer said this year’s fair was a lot of fun with some new food vendors and a variety of entertainment. “It was a great weekend and people who didn’t come out missed a great time,” she said.
For north end Best of Show winners, please see page C4-C5 of this week’s Mendota Reporter.