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Allegan County Fair(MI) Posts Strong Numbers
Skerbeck Brothers set record ride gross
By Ron Weber, Editor
The Allegan County Fair (MI) reported strong attendance numbers for 2009. The fair attracted an estimated 210,000 to 220,000 people, beating attendance figures for 2005, 2006 and 2008. "The fair patrons came through strong as always with outstanding crowds", said Saree Miller, acting Fair Manager. "We had a great year of sunshine everyday and perfect fair weather", she added.
Jeff Dunham led the grandstand acts, attracting 8,000 people for his performance. Dunham poked fun at the county fair throughout the act, receiving outstanding audience response. The "wheel-shows", demolition derby, tractor pull and moto-cross, all pulled large crowds with the Demolition Derby on the final Saturday drawing the biggest numbers. The fair also held a successful rodeo event.
Despite deep cuts from the State of Michigan, the fair board decided to continue paying full premiums to all Open and 4-H Exhibitors. In a move that affected all Michigan fairs the state made severe cuts to county fair support. The Allegan County Fair lost $52,000 in funding in 2009.
State cuts also threatened harness racing. Only the races for Tuesday and Wednesday were approved by the state but the fair held four days of racing, Tuesday through Friday. Management made a firm decision to keep the agricultural background of the event strong and paid for the additional two days of racing and premiums from the fair's budget.
On the midway, Skerbeck Brothers Shows set a new record at the Allegan County Fair. Weekends, Dollar Day and both Fridays all drew strong crowds and carnival ride gross reached all time high. On Dollar Day, over 25,000 rides were estimated to have been taken on the midway.
"We would like to thank all of our patrons, carnival independents and exhibitors for coming out again this year", said Miller. She noted the continued support of fair patrons made all the programming for the fair possible.