Despite hot weather early in the week, the annual eight-day-long Howard County Fair saw slightly higher attendance this year, cheering organizers.
"We went into the fair very apprehensive about the economy," said H. Mitchell "Mickey" Day, fair association president and chief of the nearby West Friendship Volunteer Fire Department.
Despite that, Day said attendance was between 84,000 and 85,000 people, a 2 percent increase over last year, which was "a banner year," he said.
The slightly higher gate receipts will enable the nonprofit fair association to do some needed paving at the fairgrounds, and also consider an upgrade to the 4-H building.
"We feel good. We're really happy," Day said.
Bettina Catalano, the fair association's secretary treasurer, speculated that perhaps the sour economy helped the fair by "keeping people closer to home," but she said the weather wasn't bad this year, either.
"Weather plays a huge role," she said.
Day said he was worried on Aug. 10, however, when the temperatures soared into the 90s and attendance was low.
"We were worried. It was one of the slowest days," he said, but then the temperatures began to drop, and people came out.
- Larry Carson