XENIA — Greene County Fair attendance figures were sky high until Mother Nature had her day in Xenia.
Up $5,000 from last year’s numbers through Wednesday, Fair Board President Dan Bullen said after Thursday’s dismal weather, attendance dollars are down $8,000.
“It was a dead day,” he said. “It was awful. It rained until 5 p.m. People already made up their mind what they were going to do.”
All is not lost however. Bullen said a strong showing Saturday could allow the deficit to be made up. Weather forecasts are promising and Saturday’s strongman competition and demo derby are always popular events.
The early week attractions helped boost attendance quickly.
Harness racing, as always, has been a big draw and Wednesday night’s cash handle was the largest in the state to date. The Cash Grab also drew some extra folks and the Tuesday concert, headlined by top-10 charting country singer Dustin Lynch, packed the grandstands and the track.
“That was a good show for us,” Bullen said. “You’ve got to keep trying entertainment that’s drawing people.”
Cole Swindell was a relative unknown last year prior to playing the fair. Now he’s all over country radio. Lynch is already a name, touring with Luke Bryan, which helped bring in the fans.
One thing that hasn’t hurt attendance was the state-wide ban on live poultry because of avian flu concerns.
“Fairs that are getting the weather comparable to last year are up in attendance,” Bullen said, adding that the local fairs are finding creative ways to allow 4-H kids to show off their projects.
“That’s not been an impact at all,” he said.