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Monday, September 19, 2011

Solid turnout bids 'fair'well

9/18/2011


(Amanda Loman/The Hutchinson News) Jason Sjorlund, of Garnett, pulls grandson Braden Burke, 3, along in a wagon while his wife, Paula, and daughter, Kayla Burke, walk behind. They had been at the fair for two days and were wrapping up their trip.
By Clara Kilbourn - The Hutchinson News
Taking advantage of the balmy September weather Sunday's near full-house crowd wrapped up the 2011 Kansas State Fair.
Adding to the excitement of the day, a crowd of more than 7,000 ticket holders made their way into the grandstand for an up close and personal show that starred Big Time Rush with Hot Chelle Rae.
"Nice weather, over 7,000 enthusiastic fans in the grandstand and a strong crowd on the grounds," State Fair manger Denny Steocklein said. "It's a great way to end the fair."
Big Time Rush brought out the biggest grandstand crowd of this year's fair, ticket supervisor Joan Brown said.
With the clock ticking down to only minutes before curtain time, concert goers lined up for the remaining $25 seats.
Taking advantage of a mid-afternoon break in their fair day, Eric McKay and Abe Neff, of Newton, friends for 20 years, headed to the parking lot pushing a baby stroller that held their first round of stuffed animals plus their purchases. Their second round would be on the rides.
For Jason and Paula Sjorlund, of Garnett, with grandson, Brayden, 3, and his mother Kayla Burke, of Gardner, Sunday was a second day at the fair. They drove in from eastern Kansas to watch 4-H events and eat pulled pork and corn on the cob.
"Corn on the cob is our favorite," Paula Sjorlund said. "It's just been enjoyable. The whole thing enjoyable with the weather so nice."
With a final stop for ice cream, they headed toward the parking lot.
"We're ready to go home," Jason Sjorlund said. "Two days is enough."
With several hours still to go before the day eneded, Carla Smalley posted a "Sold Out" sign on the Bierock booth sponsored by Apostolic Faith Church. They made 500 bierocks on Saturday thinking that would be enough for Sunday's final fair day crowd.
"This has been a really big year for us," Smalley said, noting that it was the first time in her 13 years that they ran out of their signature dish.
"We could have sold another 300 easy," she said.
She credited the hot summer weather and the economy for keeping people closer to home and making the fair a part of their vacation.
At the State Fair Railroad, engineer Bobby Schmidt called the 2011 fair "good, not great, but good."
Schmidt has been a part of the fair since his dad, the late Tom Schmidt, launched the train ride in 1970.
With the buildings set to close at 7 p.m. and exhibitors ready to pack up and head home, Alan Crowther, of Great Bend, at the Superior Spas exhibit owned by Stueder Contractors said they would load up the greenery that decorated their exhibit on Sunday night and be back on Monday for the spas.
"It's been wonderful," Crowther said. "We've done really well, sold quite a few."
Highway Patrol Lieutenant Mike Hutchinson called the 2011 fair "one of the slowest" in the 12 years he's worked at the fair with only one DUI and one drug arrest.
As the day wore down, David Spann, of Illinois, at Emma's Sweet Rolls concession ran out of eggs and sweet rolls. He labeled this year's fair, his 14th, "a little light." They attend fairs in Illinois, Iowa and Kansas.
"I think that's normal across the nation," he said.

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