Tri-County Fair well-attended despite its scaled-back version

Crowds file into the Tri County Fair on Monday afternoon prior to the start of the Demolition Derby. The ever-popular event again drew standing room only attendance. (Reporter photo by Jennifer Sommer)

Evening events and livestock shows draw in good crowds

MENDOTA – A more relaxed, old-fashioned vibe was how fair board secretary Carol Ramer described the 2019 Tri County Fair. This year’s scaled back version of the fair included later opening times throughout the weekend and no carnival.

“It was a fabulous fair and it went off just like it needed to,” Ramer commented on Tuesday.

Although a carnival had originally been in the plan, the carnival filed bankruptcy this year and it was too late to secure another one. “I thought it was fine without a carnival and with the later start times - the vendors were happy with that, too,” Ramer commented. “It was different, more laid back this year and more reminiscent of fairs from the past - more of a country fair feel.”

As for entries, Ramer said although the number of entries was about the same as last year, she wished more people would enter the fair.

Despite the changes this year, all of the evening events at the grandstand were well-received. “We had good crowds for the tractor pulls on Friday, the Megacross on Saturday, the stock car races on Sunday, and the Demo Derby on Monday was standing room only,” Ramer said. “We knew the evening events would be a draw and they really came through for us.”

Yes, there were some complaints about the lack of a carnival and Ramer said people sometimes try to compare the fair with the Sweet Corn Festival. “At the Sweet Corn Festival, most of the people come from out of town and you see very few people you know but at the fair, it’s very community oriented and you know almost everyone there,” she said. “They are two different things. The fair is less expensive - we have a free gate, grandstand events are only $10 and the food is reasonable.”

Looking to next year, Ramer said they will have to consider some type of activity for kids but not necessarily bringing in a carnival. “We have to weigh ideas, investigate other activities and maybe revisit the past,” she hinted. “My goal is to buy four or five rides and just have something like that for the kids.”

Ramer also pointed out that the fairgrounds is available to rent throughout the year for all types of events, everything from weddings to auctions. “We utilize the space for various races and many different things through the year,” she noted.

Despite any obstacles they encountered in planning the fair this year, at the end of the four days Ramer was happy with the result, saying, “Overall, it was excellent.

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