There were plenty of animals, photography entries, cooking projects, and other exhibits to view at the Marion County Fair this year. But there were not as many people to appreciate them.
“I believe the heat does affect fair crowds,” extension agent Rickey Roberts said. “We just don’t have a facility that people can go into to cool off, like some other counties do, so some people just stay away altogether.”
Even with temperatures approaching 110 last week, the 4-H livestock shows went ahead as planned.
“The sheep and market goat show was just miserable Wednesday afternoon,” Roberts said. “It was hard on the critters, but we never lost any livestock, and the kids just did a great job of dealing with the adversity.”
Roberts said livestock entries were about the same as last year, with the exception of beef.
“We had 58 hogs, 42 sheep, 42 goats, 22 dairy goats, and a few dairy cattle, which was steady in line with last year,” he said. “There were fewer beef entries, maybe because some families that usually show didn’t, and maybe because we just had fewer in the project this year.”
Doris Winkler, extension office secretary, said fewer youth were enrolled in 4-H this year, but fair entries were consistent with other years.
“I did think there was a decrease in clothing and style review participants,” she said.
Despite lower participation, Winkler said, there was a lot of enthusiasm about new additions to fair activities.
“We added the scarecrow decorating contest this year because there is a competition for that at the state fair level,” she said. “I also heard just a lot of excitement about the Sock Hop, which was new this year.”