Despite the earlier rain shower, crowds packed the stands for Saturday’s demolition derby.

By all accounts the 2018 Madison County Fair was a success.

The four-day fair featured a variety of events and activities that brought in a steady stream of people and unlike past years, the weather cooperated for most of the week. Organizers, volunteers and exhibitors alike were pleased by fair attendance and the number and quality of exhibits and entertainment.

“We had a wonderful fair this year,” said Madison County 4-H Extension Agent Kelly Mallory. “The pleasant weather made both the people and livestock happy. Our program has been steadily growing over the past few years and even with increased entries, the beef, goat and sheep shows ran smoothly and the auction was a great success. This year we ran the beef show over two days with market steers on Thursday and the breeding stock on Friday morning which worked well. In the past we ended up running until midnight and that’s just too long a day; everyone gets cranky, the kids, the livestock, the judges and parents. We also thank all of the Madison community for coming out and supporting our auction.”

Essie Berry, vice-president of the fair board, was also very pleased with the 2018 fair.

“This year was one of the best fairs, one of the best ever,” said Berry. “The weather was good, not too hot and admission for the week was up from last year. The rodeo continued to be a big draw and the demolition derby was a great success as usual with a record number of cars. We had 48 cars and just enough rain Saturday night to make it a little exciting.”

Berry said that finding activities and entertainment acts that will draw crowds and be affordable is always a challenge.

“It’s always challenging to find things that are entertaining that don’t break the bank. We are looking for quality shows at a price. A lot of money goes in to putting [the fair] on. It takes a lot of money and a lot of work but it’s fun to see the smiles. We do this for the kids and the families here. It’s a family event and the community really comes out to support us.”

Berry said two of the kids’ events, the pedal tractor pull and power wheels derby, have really taken off. Both events were sponsored and attracted a record number of entries.

“The power wheels derby really grew this year,” said Berry. “It is just so much fun. Now that people have seen it and know what it is about I expect the numbers to continue to grow.”

While all the rides have been taken down and the tents put away for 2018, the fair board doesn’t get a year-long break. The board has an August meeting to discuss the good and bad from the 2018 fair. The board also plans to discuss the theme for the 2019 fair which will run July 17- 20. The group hopes to have the theme set by October so they can start booking acts and entertainment that works into the theme this fall. Berry said that the board is open to suggestions from the public and any suggestions for the 2019 theme or activities and entertainment can be e-mailed to madisoncountyfairva@gmail.com.

“This is really for the kids, a chance for them to show off their home ec. or livestock projects,” said Berry. “Right now we rest, but come August we start planning for next year.”

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