The evening storm lasted less than an hour but packed 60 mph winds
that at one time forced a dozen individuals to hold the flaps at the
Republican tent to make sure it didn't leave the fairgrounds.
weather and hot weather are all a part of summer county fairs, and
everyone involved took the rough beginning in stride. "Storms can
always hurt business, but we've got to stay open for the people,"
says Jimmie Hawkins, manager for the Sivori Catering food stands.
Sivori's food stands have been a food fixture of the Logan County
Fair for 35 years. "Some close their awnings and windows. We always
keep ours open. It's our policy," Hawkins said. "Our reputation is
so important to us in this town." Hawkins said that he has seen it
all when it comes to storms at the summer fairs. "We've even
weathered tornadoes," he said.
Other vendors on the midway expressed their opinion of
first-night business from poor to very slow. All, however, are
veterans of fairs, and they know this comes along with the
territory. "One great weather day can make up for a bad one easily,"
a helper at one of the lemonade shake-up stands offered.
The visiting patterns of fairgoers are easy for the pros to
understand. If one day is so terrible that people decide not to go,
then they visit the fair on another night because they do intend to
come to the fair.
The fair staff also takes bad weather in stride. "We just move to
plan B," says Mike Maske, secretary of the Logan County Fair board.
The opening ceremonies and the fair queen pageant were moved to the
north Exhibition Building, where there was already a stage set up.
Fair volunteers and directors quickly moved over to the building and
set up chairs.
"I have to give a lot of the credit to queen pageant director
Deanne Mott," said Maske. "She was still so organized." When the
girls were first brought to the Exhibition Building, they did not
have their evening gowns. Deanne Mott and her crew had to trek back
over the muddy track to gather the gowns and the rest of their
belongings. "It still went off without hitch," said Maske. "There
was only about a 15-minute delay."
[to top of second column]
And thanks to the hard work and patience of everyone, a new queen
was chosen Tuesday night. Miss Sabra Boyd was crowned the 2008 Logan
County Fair queen. Sabra is the daughter of Donnie and Shari Boyd of
Lincoln. Megan Farmer of Middletown was named first runner-up, and
Amy Ramlow of Lincoln was named Miss Congeniality.
All did not end well for the many who found themselves at the
fair in the middle of a squall of rain, wind and lightning. The
Leuhrs' Ideal Rides amusement park didn't get to open the first
night. Potential storm activity in the area as well as a steady rain
prevented the carousels and Ferris wheel from spinning on opening
Again Maske stressed the importance of making sure fairgoers are
safe. "In the Leuhrs' office is a Doppler radar screen, plus they
have a couple televisions turned on to catch the latest local
weather reports. Sure, the kids would go on rides no matter what the
weather, but we all have to address the safety issue first and
always," he explained.
Wednesday afternoon it was still muddy at the fairgrounds, with
rain-soaked grass. The infield didn't allow people or horses to
traverse easily without their feet or hoofs becoming caked in mud.
By late afternoon, things began drying out and the number of
fairgoers started rapidly increasing. By 6 p.m. the amusement park
began to operate and the grandstand for the stock car races started
filling with race enthusiasts. Vendors started seeing their first
lines as fairgoers waited to buy their favorite fair foods.
By 7 p.m. parking inside the grounds was hard to find. The entire
frontage road was lined with parked cars and trucks. It was obvious
this was going to be a great night at the fair.
The weather forecast for the rest of the week is more favorable
outside of that usual dose of August heat, but you can never be sure
in summer. Thus the fair staff remains flexible at all times. The
vendors stay prepared and ready for whatever comes. They all know
that whether it is tomorrow or the next day or every day, when the
fair is in town, we will come.
Tuesday belonged to Mother Nature. Wednesday the fair belonged to
[By JANELL WOOLARD; LDN staff]