By all accounts, the 2019 Madison County Fair was a success despite the heat and humidity that blanketed Madison County the past week.
Although attendance was slightly lower overall than 2018, the four-day event brought in a steady stream of people to see the varied events and exhibits. The weather, although hot and humid, remained clear with the only storms coming just before the start of the fireman’s parade on Wednesday.
Fair board president Alan Spivey was pleased with the both the attendance and the quality of exhibits and events at this year’s fair and the attitude of the board and volunteers.
“Everything about the fair was positive,” said Spivey. “We had good attendance Wednesday, Friday and Saturday nights. Thursday didn’t really have a feature event, so the attendance was a little lower. This year we brought back the donkey races which are a real crowd favorite and that brought in people Wednesday. The most memorable part of this fair was the attitude and spirit of all the board and volunteers. The worse the conditions got, the harder everyone worked to make things better. There were some modifications like letting the beef exhibitors leave early because of the conditions. Everyone worked together to make sure exhibitors, vendors and fairgoers had fun and stayed comfortable. To me, the takeaway from this is we have a great group of volunteers who kept great attitudes and worked even harder to make the fair a success.”
Fair board vice-president Essie Berry was pleased with this year’s events despite fair attendance being slightly lower than 2018.
“As long as the kids and the community are having fun, that’s all that matters,” said Berry. “The donkey races were a crowd favorite and the rodeo was wonderful. People came at 5 p.m. and waited in the bleachers for the bull riding to start.”
Berry felt the heat was the cause of lower attendance.
“The kids seemed to have a great time and we really appreciate the community coming out to support us, especially in this heat,” said Berry. “ Wednesday our attendance was up from 2018, the rain that came before the parade cooled things down and the donkey races were a huge success. Thursday and Friday were down but it was unbelievably hot. Saturday had very good attendance despite the heat. People came out for the demolition derby and stayed to enjoy the exhibits and carnival. We had some schedule changes because of the weather. The bucket baby show was moved up in the day so the kids and animals wouldn’t be out in the heat of the day.”
The heat was tough on the livestock exhibits. 4-H agent Kelly Mallory said there were a record number of animals in the 2019 fair and the community and 4-Hers worked hard to keep them comfortable.
“We all survived it,” said Mallory. “I’m so proud of all our 4-Hers for how they took care of their animals. The livestock shows ran smoothly and the sale did very well. Plenty of buyers from the community came out to support the 4-Hers. We’re especially thankful for Carlyle Weaver setting up the misting fans for the animals and the Orange-Madison Co-op for bringing a fan for the show ring. The kids worked hard to keep their animals comfortable and we had no kids or animals harmed by the heat.”
While all the rides have been taken down and the tents put away for 2019, the fair board doesn’t get a year-long break. The board has a meeting the second Monday in August to discuss the 2019 fair and start planning for 2020. Berry said that the board is open to suggestions from the public and any suggestions for the 2020 theme or activities and entertainment can be e-mailed to email@example.com. The fair board is also exploring fundraiser options and hopes to hold a fundraising event later this fall.