A rainy, but fun Fair weekend

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It rained Friday night, rained Saturday morning, and it rained even more Sunday. And through it all rain and grey skies, the 164th Tillsonburg Tri-County Fair volunteers, vendors, and ride operators soldiered on.

"It rained," Rosemary Dean, Tillsonburg Fair president, nodded emphatically, "but we still have our heads held high."

Friday was not a good day for Fair attendance, she admitted.

"But we had lots of dedicated people still come through. And Whistler Creek and their group of people played till 10:30 and people were still dancing in the rain."

After surviving a wet opening day, the fair board was greeted by more rain Saturday morning.

"It rained a little bit Saturday morning and then it cleared up for us in the afternoon - it was a pretty good day," she smiled.

Saturday's gate sales actually surpassed Saturday's gate in 2017, partially because of the $8 admission (compared to $5 admission in 2017 plus a separate $5 Comic Con admission, which this year was rolled into one fee), but also because when the sun did come out, so did the people to see the new midway rides and games provided by World's Finest Shows, and all the other traditional Fair attractions.

"We had lots of positive feedback on World's Finest Shows. We're looking at re-signing with them again next year."

Comic Con was a hit on Saturday, said Dean.

"At any given time there was probably 20-30 kids playing at the video stations, and they had a constant flow through the Comic Con all the way until 6 p.m. (Saturday) night."

The Big Creek Tractor Pullers Association, who began their competition at 6 p.m., also contributed to solid numbers Saturday.

"We actually had a really good turnout for the tractor pullers, so maybe changing it to Saturday was good," said Dean, noting that in past years the mini tractor pullers came Friday nights. "More people out to watch that this year."

Dean said they received feedback on the food booths.

"People would like to see more food booths, maybe more variety, so the board will look at that for next year.

"And we'll be taking into consideration people saying the fair should not be back-to-back weekends with Turtlefest. World's Finest Shows is giving us an option in July... so people will have to stay tuned to see."

The fair board needs to weigh the pros and cons of moving again for a third consecutive year versus keeping it in June and butting up against Turtlefest and Canada Day.

With 18.3 mm of rain Sunday, it was just plain wet.

"Sunday, well..." Dean smiled, still able to pull positives from Sunday's Thrill Show Productions demolition derby despite fewer spectators this year.

"We have 50 vehicles, so that's our highest count - we have a good variety of mini vans, trucks, figure eights, modifieds... and the Power Wheels, this year we doubled it. Last year we had seven, this year 14.

"So the rain... yes, I think it made some people not as eager to come out, but we can't control Mother Nature unfortunately.

"We are very, very grateful to everybody who came out this weekend and supported us these three days, rain or shine," Dean summed up. "Overall, rain or shine, we're still here. We've had so many years of really good weather, this was bound to come at some point unfortunately."



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