Spencer, IA (CCF)–Thanks to an all-time attendance high, a Guinness World record, and several other marks, “Bushels of Fun” quickly became “Bushels of Records” at the 2013 Clay County Fair.
“Great weather, great programming put together by our board, staff, and volunteers, and a great response to our new promotions truly made this a Fair for the record books,” said CCF Manager Jeremy Parsons. “We asked fairgoers to have ‘bushels of fun,’ and it looks like we achieved our goal based on the response we received.”
Total attendance for the 2013 Clay County Fair was 334,575, the largest attendance in the Fair’s 96-year history. (The previous all-time attendance record was set in 2011 with 327,917 guests.)
“Sunny, dry weather for the majority of the run as well as large crowds on our new promotional days, Thank a Farmer Day (Sept. 12) and Last Chance Day (Sept. 15), combined to push us over the record,” said Parsons.
Saturday, Sept. 14 was highlighted by a record of another kind – an unofficial breaking of the Guinness World Record for the largest practical science lesson. A partnership between Iowa Lakes Community College, the Governor’s STEM Initiative and the Fair, the record attempt began with a 30-minute science lesson and ended with 774 fairgoers participating in a science experiment. Although official certification from Guinness has not yet been received, the 774 participants did break the previous record of 749 set in Norway in 2012.
Fairgoers enjoyed visiting the record 525 vendors who had displays at the Fair, showcasing the “latest and greatest” products for home and farm. Winners of the commercial exhibits awards for best displays went to Sheila B’s (best indoor exhibit), Murphy Equipment (best outdoor exhibit) and Becker Concessions (best food/beverage concession). New foods at the 2013 Fair included Jamaican cuisine, flavored corn dogs, bacon tenderloins, deep fried s’mores, and cookie dough desserts.
Records continued to fall in competition departments with thousands of exhibitors vying for blue ribbons and more than $95,000 in premium money. Three new breeds of beef cattle (Miniature Hereford, Lowline and Charolais) and one new breed of sheep (Katahdin) increased open class livestock numbers. Records were also set in the photography department (2,444 photos entered) and creative culinary department (80 entries in the $1000 Cinnamon Roll Contest).
More than 800 youth from 38 counties in Iowa and Minnesota exhibited in 4-H and FFA competitions, pushing livestock entry numbers to a 10-year high. In the 4-H Building, the “Can-struction” competition between Clay County 4-H clubs raised more than 2,500 lbs. of food for local food banks. As part of the Clay County Extension Service’s Centennial celebration on Sept. 13, Bonnie Johnson was inducted into the Iowa 4-H Hall of Fame.
More than 28,000 attended Grandstand events at the 2013 Clay County Fair (up from 25,066 in 2012), including six concerts, chuck wagon races, World of Outlaws sprint cars and NTPA truck and tractor pulls. The top attended events were World of Outlaws sprint cars (Sept. 13), Scotty McCreery (Sept. 14) and Theory of a Deadman (Sept. 15).
Packed bleachers and benches were the norm as fairgoers gathered to enjoy $120,000 in free entertainment, including Shenaniguns Comedy Wild West Show, Big Cat Encounter and Farmer Bob. The Farmers Bank Stage, Northwest Bank Stage, Dish Plaza and KICD Courtyard offered a wide variety of entertainment with different shows starting each half hour daily.
Records continued to fall with the thrills found at GoldStar Amusements on the Midway. With 32 rides for all ages, GoldStar set another Clay County Fair record for all-time gross sales, their third straight year of breaking that record.
Fairgoers also received education about Iowa’s number one industry – agriculture – through Grandpa’s Barn, the Awesome Ag Show, the Ag Learning Center, and special days that focused on a different aspect of agriculture and rural life (wind energy, corn, soybeans, pork and dairy). A total of 746 school-age children (up from 654 in 2012) visited the Fair on field trips as part of the AgCiting program.
More detailed information on the success of the 2013 Clay County Fair will be made available at the Clay County Fair Association’s annual meeting on October 28. Lifetime memberships to the Fair Association are available for $100. Call (712) 262-4740 for more information.
The 2014 Clay County Fair will be held September 6-14 in Spencer, Iowa.