Fair overcomes rain for successful run

Published 9:28 am Tuesday, August 18, 2009

COURTLAND—Organizers of this year’s Franklin-Southampton County Fair are pleased that, despite a few setbacks, the event was successful and well attended.

“I think that overall we had a good fair,” said Steve Clark, this year’s president of Franklin-Southampton Fair Foundations Inc., which runs the event. “We were very excited about the improvements that we made at the grounds, with the air conditioning in the large building, and the number of exhibitors we had. All of those were very positive.”

But Mother Nature apparently wasn’t in a fair mood this year. Showers fell Wednesday during the event and Friday before the gates opened. Torrential rains fell during the fair on Thursday.

“The rain plagued us a little bit,” Clark said. “But I think the people that came out had a good time. We’ll see how the numbers turn out, but hopefully this will be a successful year for us.”

Foundation treasurer Sandra Heeren echoed that sentiment.

“Considering the weather, I think our numbers were good,” Heeren said, adding that the foundation expects to have ticket sales figures by the middle of the week. “I think the midway did well, and I think they were pleased. They tried to get more rides to gear more toward teenagers.”

The economy and the continuing extension office vacancy in Southampton County also affected the event.

“There were significantly fewer people coming through the exhibits this year,” said Amy Lehman, who served as superintendent for the rabbit and poultry exhibits at the fair this year. “We probably had fewer donations toward the livestock show than in previous years. That can be attributed to both having people at the extension office (in previous years) who were really working hard to bring the money in and the economy in general. The number of kids that participated was probably attributed to not having a representative in the extension office as well.”

Lehman, who also serves as liaison of “The Rawls Library 4-H Club,” said she saw some encouraging things at the fair as well.

“The kids that did turn out have all decided to join together and form clubs,” Lehman said. “The families are banding together to ask, ‘What can we do?’ I’m really super proud of them. This is happening without having someone in the extension office.”

She added, “The fairgrounds crew and the fair board were extremely helpful with anything we needed. If we asked for help we got it. I think it was their understanding that we were on our own and just doing the best that we could. My 4-Hers did an extremely good job and were onhand to answer all sorts of questions.”