Rain, heat ham­per Cecil County Fair at­ten­dance

Cecil Whig - - LOCAL - By CARL HAMIL­TON

ca­hamil­ton@ce­cil­whig.com

— A pro­tracted heat wave marked by high hu­mid­ity and some rain, quite heavy at times, be­dev­iled the nine-day­long 2016 Cecil County Fair.

At­ten­dance was down 32 per­cent from the fig­ure recorded dur­ing last year’s fair, which drew close to the same crowd as the 2014 event, ac­cord­ing to Al Miller, pres­i­dent of the Cecil County Fair Board of Di­rec­tors.

But it’s all rel­a­tive, he em­pha­sized.

“It sounds hor­ri­ble but, when you con­sider that we had two re­ally good, in fact, re­ally su­per years at the fair in 2015 and 2014, down 32 per­cent (in at­ten­dance) this year re­ally isn’t as bad as it sounds,” Miller ex­plained.

On Sun­day, the last day of the event, Miller re­ported that ap­prox­i­mately 52,000 peo­ple to­tal at­tended the fair this year com­pared to 78,000 in 2015. The ad­mis­sion fee was $5 for adults, while tick­ets for se­nior cit­i­zens and chil­dren were dis­counted. With of­fi­cial to­tals still pend­ing, Miller did not have the fi­nal fig­ure for how much rev­enue this year’s fair gen­er­ated.

The fair started on July 22, which, as it turned out, also was the first day of a heat wave in Cecil County and the re­gion. Tem­per­a­tures re­mained in the 90s

FAIR HILL

through Satur­day, some eight days later, while the high temp on Sun­day was in the up­per 80s. On July 25, the fourth day of the fair, the tem­per­a­ture in Cecil County rose above 100.

It is be­lieved that such hot, muggy air ham­pered day­time at­ten­dance at the fair, pos­si­bly be­cause peo­ple opted in­stead to re­main in­side air-con­di­tioned homes or to visit swim­ming pools, beaches, cin­ema cen­ters and other cooler places.

Then there was the pre­cip­i­ta­tion.

“We had four days of rain,” Miller said, list­ing that “hard rain” struck at times on July 23, July 25, Thurs­day night and again on Satur­day, when there were tor­ren­tial down­pours in some spots in Cecil County in the af­ter­noon and steady rain in the evening.

But even so, as the rain fell Satur­day night, the grand­stands re­mained packed dur­ing the de­mo­li­tion derby – a tes­ta­ment to the grit­ti­ness of the fans and the pop­u­lar­ity of the derby.

“The good Lord took care of us,” Miller said, adding, “I couldn’t be­lieve that the main grand­stands were packed and the other bleach­ers were about one-third full. I would say there was about 2,500 peo­ple watch­ing the de­mo­li­tion derby in the steady rain.”

Over­all, ac­cord­ing to Miller, he and his fel­low fair plan­ners are count­ing their bless­ings, know­ing peo­ple can­not change the weather.

“Fri­day was a won­der­ful crowd. We had some good turnouts dur­ing the week,” Miller said, be­fore re­it­er­at­ing that, com­pared to the two pre­vi­ous “su­per” years, the at­ten­dance was only down 32 per­cent this year.

CECIL WHIG PHOTO BY LINDSIE PALMER

Rain and heat hurt at­ten­dance at the 63rd an­nual Cecil County Fair, which closed on Sun­day.

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