The 2016 Highland County Fair has seen above average crowds and popular new attractions, according to officials.
After an opening weekend that offered perfect weather to kick off the fair, the mercury and humidity zoomed by Tuesday, but the skies remained dry.
Kathy DeRose, executive secretary of the fair board, said Tuesday that so far, “everything is going great.”
DeRose said that the Saturday opening day crowd “was one of the better ones in years,” and overall attendance is better than average so far.
She said the new campground at the fair has been popular, and shuttle services to help people navigate the fairgrounds have “helped a lot.”
DeRose said the new beer garden has been popular, and has caused “no trouble whatsoever.”
This marks the first year that beer has been sold at the Highland County Fair, although it has been increasingly available at other fairs.
Beer is being sold in 16-ounce cans from the old Trailbreakers building near the upper entrance to the tractor pull arena, and those purchasing it are allowed to be in a roped off section where they can watch events going on in the tractor pull area. They must go inside the building to be served and must exit through the building when they leave.
The forecast for the remainder of the week calls for highs in the 90s and lows in the 70s Wednesday and Thursday. There will be a slight cooling Friday and Saturday, with highs in the upper 80s. Morning thunderstorms are predicted for Friday, and afternoon storms on Saturday.
The junior fair poultry and livestock shows are ongoing through the week, with the sales running Wednesday through Friday.
Musical entertainment will be provided Wednesday, Thursday and Friday evenings in the Multipurpose Building. Wednesday will feature classic rock by Blue Steel at 7 p.m., Thursday will highlight country music by Patrick Roush at 7 p.m. and gospel music by Adams Voice at 8 p.m., and Friday will feature rock’n’roll from The Van-Dells at 8 p.m.
There are tractor and other pulls scheduled 7 p.m. Thursday, 7 p.m. Friday, and Saturday, Sept. 10 at 8:30 a.m. and 7 p.m. KOI drag racing at 6 p.m. Wednesday.
The fair opens daily at 8 a.m. The admission gates close around 10 p.m., and the fair closes around 11 p.m. Rides open at noon each day and close at 11 p.m.
Daily general admission is $10 and includes all the mechanical rides and shows. A season pass is $25 and anyone with that pass who wants to ride rides will need to pay $7 a day. Anyone under 3 years old is admitted free.
Season passes this year are in the form of yellow wristbands, rather than a traditional paper pass. Some fairgoers have praised the wristbands because once they are purchased, people need to merely show them as they enter the fair rather than stand in line for passes to be punched. Others have complained that the wristbands cannot be removed without cutting them off, forcing them to wear them to work throughout the week, which some attendees have said they are not permitted to do.
Handicapped parking is available near the green gate on Fairground Road. As usual, Hillsboro Rotarians are manning the gates at the fair.
Shuttle wagons will be running from the parking areas to the green gate. The Hillsboro Masons have golf carts available to take people from their vehicle to the fair entrance and anywhere else they want to go, as long as someone can notify the gate personnel.
The shuttles are also available inside the fairgrounds to help those who need it get from one location to another. There are marked shuttle stops and if someone waits there a shuttle should come by every 10 minutes or so.
Reach Gary Abernathy at 937-393-3456 or on Twitter @abernathygary.