Written by Don Ratzlaff Tuesday, 18 September 2012 14:08
That’s the theory of Police Chief Dan Kinning, who estimated the crowd from 40,000 to 45,000 people judging by the number of cars scrambling for parking spaces around town.
“I didn’t see a lot of people walking around with a lot of stuff,” Kinning said. “But all the parking lots—including the high school parking lot (about three blocks from the downtown fair)—were all full.
Penni Schroeder, in her second year as fair director, said she and fellow organizers were pleased with this year’s fair, which featured around 280 vendors and a variety of mostly local food providers.
Schroder said it was hard to tell if the cooler temperatures and occasional light mist that lasted much of the day had much effect on attendance or sales—unless, perhaps, you were a food provider hoping to sell a lot of cold drinks.
“Some food people said they had wonderful days—they sold out, and others said it was kind of low,” she said of the food providers. “That baffles me. I don’t know why some presenters did terrific and others didn’t, because they all had the same weather.”
The vendors of arts and crafts reported mixed results, too, according to Schroeder.
“I talked to a number of them, and they said they sold out most of their stuff, so you get those people,” she said. “I think those are people who have a following (from year to year)—people know they’re there.
“Probably some of the vendors who are a little newer would say it wasn’t as good,” she added. “Someone (with lower sales) told me they concluded it was because of the dry summer—people were a little more depressed about that.”
Kinning said the cooler weather seemed to have a positive effect on people in general.
“It was a good crowd,” he said. “The weather helped a whole lot with everything. There were no temper (issues). Even clearing the (downtown) streets the night before was good. Everybody got it done and complied. I didn’t have to tow anybody.”
Schroeder agreed with Kinning’s observations.
“I was totally impressed by the vendors on Friday night,” she said. “I think it was maybe the beautiful weather, but everybody was low key. Nobody was intense about things. It was much better than the rain on Saturday morning last year.
“Overall, I think people were happy.”
Except for a woman who broke her arm when she fell getting out of her pickup truck, Kinning reported no medical issues Saturday.
“We normally have some problems with heat exhaustion and that kind of thing,” he said. “We had none of that. It was just a good crowd and good day for everybody.”
Schroeder said the organization for this year’s fair went smoothly.
“You always think, ‘I could have done this, or I could have done that’—but it worked,” she said.
“They are amazing,” she said. “They just know what to do, and they are prompt. We had a sign that came down in front of the Chamber (office)—they were there within 15 minutes of when I called to put it back up.
“They really work hard at making it go. We really appreciate them.”