Fed by rain-free weather, a large Kids’ Day gate and a stuffed-to-the-rafters grandstand crowd for the final-night Demolition Derby show, the Elkhart County 4-H Fair rang up near record numbers for the 2017 edition.
The nine-day run from July 21 to July 29 resulted in 202,560 guests at the 4-H Fairgrounds, including a single-day high of 27,178 on Wednesday, July 26.
“Everything came together perfectly to create one of the better Fair’s in a few years,” said Bryan Blair, general manager of the 4-H Fairgrounds. “A strong concert lineup, a variety of free shows, a strong number of 4-H entries along with what has to be just about the widest variety of food concessions at any Fair all combined to provide a fantastic experience.”
Blair noted that despite summer concerns about road improvement in and around Goshen, the Fair’s new C.R. 36 access entrance from the south end of the fairgrounds was used heavily, alleviating many potential snarls.”
Along the midway, it was busy as well.
“It was a good year … sales were up from last year,” said Blake Huston of North American Midway Entertainment. “It ended up being one of our better years we’ve had there.”
And according to Tim Yoder, a 4-H Fair board member who handles the food concession, 4-H clubs, civic and professional groups noted near-record sale totals as well along the “Famous Food Row.”
The annual livestock auction kept up with this year’s torrid pace, too.
By raising $1,166,064.96 for the area 4-H’ers, the 2017 Fair hit its second-best mark ever, topping 2016 by more than $12,000. The all-time Elkhart County mark of 1,290,596.20 was established in 2015.