County fair attendance up

Published 12:00 am Friday, August 9, 2002

With total attendance of 95,000, this year’s Freeborn County Fair was another successful one.

According to Fair Board member Norm Fredin, that number is about 12 percent higher than last year’s attendance. He credited the attendance to several factors: the rodeo; the yet-unnamed building that replaces the former Rodeo Corral, which was destroyed by fire in 2001; and newly paved streets.

&uot;People like to walk on blacktop,&uot; said Fredin.

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The grandstand concerts, including Phil Vassar, Trick Pony and Herman’s Hermits &045; were also draws for the large crowds, filling the grandstand to near capacity. The seats for John Anderson, Saturday’s concert, were not as full as for the other acts, possibly due to threatening weather. According to Fredin, Thursday’s act, Trick Pony, was the most popular of the concerts. He said that attendance was so high on Thursday that vehicles were turned away for about half an hour because there were no parking spaces available.

Thursday wasn’t the busiest day for everyone, though. Mary Willmert, committee member for Zion Lutheran Church’s food stand, said that their busiest day was Wednesday &045; Senior Citizens’ Day. She added every day was busy at suppertime, though. She said the stand had higher sales than in the past, and attributed that to the air-conditioned new building.

&uot;We had a good turnout,&uot; said Willmert.

Jacob Zamora, owner of Casa Zamora restaurant, said that his food stand was probably a little slower during the day due to heat, but business picked up around 4:30 p.m. He said if the fair keeps offering great entertainment like they did this year, attendance will continue to rise. This was the 22nd year Zamora has operated his food stand at the fair.

Despite the larger crowds, Bob Kindler, supervising investigator for the Freeborn County Sheriff’s Office, said the sheriff’s office members who were on hand at the fair weren’t necessarily any busier than they have been in other years.

&uot;All in all, I think it was an excellent turnout, and a well-behaved group of people,&uot; Kindler said.

Kindler said there were no serious security problems and that this year probably had fewer disturbances than in the past. He added, though, that there was a rise in his office’s assistance with medical emergencies, which he attributed to the hot weather.

According to Joy Shaft, outpatient manager at Albert Lea Medical Center, EMS workers, available the entire week of the fair, handled some heat-related emergencies. Although there were several minor emergency-room admissions, the patients only needed emergency-room services for an assessment. There were no hospital admissions due to overheating.

&uot;It was a good fair,&uot; said Fredin.

The 2003 Freeborn County Fair is scheduled to run July 29 through Aug. 3. Although next year’s grandstand acts are not yet known, Fredin said the board would be working on that in the near future.