Not-so-fair weather hurting fair attendance
Oppressive heat, harsh storms hit annual event
— The last two days of the Cecil County Fair promise to be drier than the first seven have been, according to the National Weather Service.
“There will be numerous showers overnight,” Steve Pfaff, a meteorologist at Mt. Holly, N.J., said Thursday afternoon. “The bulk of it will fall into Friday morning.”
Pfaff added Cecil County is under a flash flood watch until noon Friday because of heavy downpours with strong showers.
Al Miller, fair board president, said this is more rain than typically falls during the fair.
“We’ve had a washout like
on a Wednesday night,” he said.
Several days of rain, however, has hurt attendance for the 63rd fair, Miller reported.
“We had to shut down early Monday night,” he said said. “Saturday night it was bad, but we recovered.”
The Saturday storm, which included rain and strong wind gusts, destroyed some vendor tents and damaged others.
Another downpour struck Thursday afternoon as heavy rain fell for nearly an hour.
Then there was the heat. Even those accustomed to working outdoors found this week’s heat wave oppressive.
“There was nobody on the rides until 5 p.m. Saturday,” Miller said. “The ride seats were hot. It was brutal.”
Because of the heat, the decision was made to delay the opening of the Degeller Amusements midway until 5 p.m. on Sunday, trying to take advantage of the cooler hours.
“We’ll just keep going,” Miller said. “The heat and everything has taken its toll.”
However, there are no reports of illness or injury due to the weather, which Miller found amazing.
“That 20-by-20-foot tent with air conditioning has been a blessing,” Miller said, thanking Steve Moon from Moon Services for offering the cooling tent to fair patrons. “It was a benefit for us to have that.”
Under grey, damp skies and with the threat of approaching storms, demolition derby cars began to arrive at the fairgrounds Thursday afternoon. The demolition derby is always the most popular attraction with heats Thursday, Friday and Saturday night and Saturday afternoon.
“We’ll get cars wrecked,” Miller said, noting that only heavy rain or lightning would have any effect. “We’ve got three days to wreck the cars, so we’ll find a way.”
Calling the Cecil County Fair “the best deal around,” Miller said the $5 adult admission is not refundable if the weather refuses to cooperate. The fair office has fielded calls from people wanting a free ticket or a refund because the rain shortened their fair experience.
“Once you pay the $5, you’re here,” he explained.
Even running through the rain does not keep this young lady from getting drenched Thursday afternoon at the Cecil County Fair.