The carnival portion of the Daviess County Lions Club Fair concluded on Sunday, July 14. Despite a drop in attendance from last year, Fair Board Secretary Joan Hayden said it was still a well-attended fair and the feedback was nothing short of positive.
“The attendance this year was about 7,000 to 7,300 for four days, which is down about 1,000 from last year,” Hayden said. “It wasn’t up where we wanted it — but there was good attendance each night. We had some new attractions and people just loved them. People really liked the tractor pulls this year because we added garden tractors and had both in the same arena.”
Hayden said that, once again, the fireworks were a huge hit, as well as new additions such as pony rides and a petting zoo that catered more to families.
“All of the comments on Facebook were positive,” Hayden said. “The fact that it was family-friendly and you only had to pay one price to get in. That’s what makes it affordable for families.”
When questioned with the notion of whether or not the county fair was losing its appeal, Hayden felt that families were busier, not that there was less attraction to the fair.
“I don’t think county fairs are dying,” Hayden said. “In larger counties, like us, we struggle because there’s so much competition. There is a lot to do around here, but it’s not geared towards families — and we are. I think we’ve turned a corner now and we’re moving forward and we’ll catch up from there.”
Hayden said the fair couldn’t move forward and make progress without its sponsors and volunteers.
“This is our [the Daviess County Lions Club’s] biggest community service project — putting on this fair,” Hayden said. “But we definitely could not do it without the sponsors. When a fair cost $90,000 plus, you’d have to bring in 9-10,000 people to help.”
She said sponsors such as Owensboro Health, Independence Bank, Envision Contracting, Wilkerson Plastering, Western Kentucky Minerals, Hayden Construction, Castlen Steel and Vortex Air helped with monetary and material donations. While ERB Equipment and Ward Implement helped to provide equipment.
“The Daviess County Detention Center even came out every morning and picked up trash and mowed the grass and weed-eated,” Hayden said. “They’ve been an asset — people just don’t realize what all we have to do.”
The Daviess County Lions Club met Monday night to reflect on what went well this year and how the fair could improve for next year. Hayden said some lessons were learned, such as not to create the mud pits quite as deep, and the PA system will have to be replaced due to an equipment malfunction.
According to Hayden, she and the Lions Club members do have a few new ideas for the future of the fair.
“We have a small arena we don’t use every night,” Hayden said. “I would like to have a high school challenge night. Each high school could put together a tug of war team or a six-person volleyball team and compete for bragging rights and a traveling trophy. I think that would be a neat idea, if we could get it together and have the high schools participate in that.”