Watertown Daily Times
Good weather helps boost attendance
By Diane Graff of the Daily Times staff
BEAVER DAM - What a difference a year can make, according to Dodge County Fair Board President Jim Schoenike.
The five-day run of the Dodge County Fair had a record attendance this year, compared to being rained out several days last year.
“We had excellent weather and participating crowd,” Schoenike said. “We had a little rain on Wednesday night, otherwise it was a beautiful fair week,” the fair board president said this morning from the grounds east of Beaver Dam.
In 2007, the fairgrounds had nearly 6 inches of rain during the last two days of the event, canceling several activities and events, including the main stage entertainment. The county was under a flood warning during most of the 2007 fair.
Fair officials are estimating this year's attendance of 57,400, a new record. The attendance figure smashed the old record set in 2002 when about 54,000 people visited the fair, Schoenike said.
“It was a much needed comeback from last year and we were certainly very thankful that we had the good weather,” Schoenike said. “This was a great fair and a great run,” he added.
Friday's crowd was the largest of the five-day run, the fair board president said. He attributed the crowd to the nice weather and legendary rock artist Ted Nugent who performed on the main stage. The age of the crowd ranged from teenagers to those who listened to Nugent's music in the 1970s.
The second largest crowd was Thursday night when Miranda Lambert took the stage.
“We had one of the youngest crowds on the grounds for Wednesday night's performance of Jason Aldean,” Schoenike said.
Concession sales were also up for Friday, the fair board president said. “Vendors said they had the biggest day ever at the fair on Friday,” Schoenike said. “Many have had concessions here for years and Friday was the biggest day they have every seen.”
The demolition derby Sunday afternoon and again Sunday night also was a large drawing attraction. While the rides were closing down and commercial exhibitors starting to dismantle booths, the demolition derby was held on the track before a full grandstand audience.
“We were very trouble free,” Schoenike said. “Folks were on their best behavior,” he added. “The weather did not stress things and that makes a big difference,” he said.
Plans are already under way for the 122nd annual Dodge County Fair set for Aug. 19-23, 2009.