Date published: 8/9/2010 By KELLY HANNON
Sunny skies and a new emphasis on local music, animals and children's activities drew more people to the Fredericksburg Agricultural Fair this summer than last year, said fair organizers.
As the 10-day fair drew to a close yesterday, attendance was up 25 percent overall from 2009, said Travis Bullock, general manager of the fair.
The higher turnout had a snowball effect. As people visited early in the fair's calendar, they mentioned the visit to others, increasing interest, Bullock said.
"They're going back and talking in the community and spreading the word we have new, family events," Bullock said.
Parker Bethem of Fredericksburg feeds a camel on closing day at the Fredericksburg Agricultural Fair.
Yesterday, reflecting on the past 10 days, fair President Bennie Brooks Jr. said he was proud the event showcased one of the fair's original purposes, agriculture, this summer.
"A few years ago we had three cattle in the barn, and this year we had 14 in just one show," Brooks said.
Other highlights were musical stage entertainment and Nojoe's Clown Circus. "He was packed every show," Brooks said. Organizers have already inquired about having Nojoe return next year.
A visit from Miss America Caressa Cameron, a graduate of Massaponax High School in Spotsylvania County, drew visitors, as did the new fair pageant categories and new food vendors from the community, Bullock said.
Katie DeBernard, 11, enjoys the Scrambler ride at the Fredericksburg Fair yesterday, the event's last day.
But Brooks was pleased to see so many "young people" at the fair this summer.
"It's coming back to life," Brooks said.
Family activities drew Vadene Latino of Spotsylvania to the fair with her 1-year-old grandson. "I like the fact they have a lot of kids' rides for the grandbaby," Latino said.
Others in her family were drawn in by fair food. "My husband comes every year for the Italian sausage. That's the biggest reason he comes," Latino said.
Taylor Hill, 15, and Kathleen Jimenez, 15, both of Fredericksburg, shared a cup of water after finishing the Viper ride, which they enjoyed but which they said made them dizzy. Jimenez took pictures of a live camel ride.
It was the first time either could remember going to the fair in years, Hill said.
They decided to check it out on the last day.
"Why not? We'll enjoy ourselves," Jimenez said.
Nancy Brothers of Stafford County watched granddaughter Anya, 3, whirl around on a carousel-like children's ride.
The only thing she'd change about the fair is something that's out of its control--the weather.
"I wish it wasn't so hot!" Brothers said.
Read originial ==>> Fredericksburg.com - Fair enjoys higher turnout this year http://fredericksburg.com/News/FLS/2010/082010/08092010/567245#ixzz0w7eRxbzV