See you next year

The day after the 2013 Chautauqua County Fair signaled a busy day of cleanup as amusement rides and concession stands were taken down and fair buildings were emptied of all their contents.

The fairgrounds stood empty by late Monday afternoon, including the new midway by the Bates Brothers Amusement Company, concession stand areas and the grandstand. Besides several stragglers scattered around the 4-H buildings collecting personal belongings, only a handful of volunteers were left, including a few inside Floral Hall that were stripping it of everything inside.

Kay Richard, superintendent of junior arts and crafts for the fair, was one of those helping to clean out the building. She was in charge of putting any unclaimed art into boxes to transport outside the fairgrounds.

“We had over 300 entries this year and we were up 10 entries since last time,” she said. “Cleanup has been going good over the course of today. Throughout fair week, we had less people inside Floral Hall, but maybe that’s because the weather was so nice. On nice days, people want to be outside the buildings.”

Richard also said she is excited to see what the children will create and bring next year.

Mike Ferguson, director of marketing and promotions for the fair, said that while exact numbers have not been calculated yet, it appears more fair-goers came out for this year’s festivities when compared with last year.

“We were ahead of last year for every single day of the fair and, in total, it looks like there were around 3,000 more people,” he said. “We also experienced financial success with this year and social media comments on Twitter and Facebook were incredibly positive.”

Ferguson went on to praise the schedule of entertainment events at the Maytum Stage, calling it “one of the best we’ve had.” He also credited the new midway company and both sold out demolition derby events for contributing to a successful fair season.

“Regarding the weather, we had some very nice days and only two or three days of hard rain, which is not bad for a rural area fair,” he said.

Grace Hilliker, superintendent of agriculture, maple and honey, fruit and canned goods for the fair, said she was happy with some unique objects brought to this year’s festivities. Hilliker was one of the late afternoon volunteers helping with cleanup in Floral Hall.

“We had some fruits and vegetables that are unusual for this time of year, as well as some interesting varieties of canned goods and dried fruits,” she said. “We seemed to be less busy than usual in this building, but that might be because people were busy (with all the other events) and couldn’t come in.”

Dave Wilson, fair director for the grandstand, said the new midway company helped contribute to the positive atmosphere on the fairgrounds.

“The new rides were well put-together and they and the areas around them were kept very clean by Bates Brothers,” he said. “We received some good comments from people regarding them. Also, we like to rotate events around from year-to-year to keep things fresh and this year, everyone seemed pleased with what was offered. Overall, this was an excellent year for the fair.”

With the book closed on the 2013 Chautauqua County Fair, plans are already in the works for the event’s 133rd year.

“We are already looking toward next year and we plan on adding some new and exciting attractions,” Ferguson said.

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