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Fair looking for busy weekend

Officials hope to make up for slow start

Fair looking for busy weekend

Fair looking for busy weekend

Acrobatic pigs draw a crowd to Chase'...

Gloomy weather dampened attendance as the Kiwanis Ogeechee Fair opened the first two nights, but fair officials are confident the crisp fall temperatures this weekend will help make up for the loss.
The Statesboro Kiwanis Club hosts the fair each year as a fund raiser to help support over 40 different local charities and groups, said fair co-chairman Darrell Colson. After expenses incurred in holding the fair, all proceeds are filtered back into the community through donations throughout the year.
Proceeds also fund scholarships, including ones to Ogeechee Technical College and Georgia Southern University.
Gate admissions Monday were significantly lower this year, compared to previous years, and rain on Tuesday resulted in a light crowd as well, he said.
However, good weather meant “fair” weather Wednesday and the crowd was a good bit larger as the fairgrounds opened for the third day, he said.
Walter Pease, who serves as fair co-chairman along with Colson, said “I’m tickled to death the weather has straightened out. We’re going to have a super, super three nights.”
Colson spoke Thursday during a Kiwanis meeting where staff from Amusements of America, the company that provides the midway for the fair, provided lunch for club members.
Traditionally, fair chairmen deliver a “state of the fair” address during the club meeting held the week of the fair. Colson did so, expressing confidence that pleasant weather the rest of the week will make up for a slow start.
“The big rush is going to come,” he said, reminding everyone that Friday and Saturday are traditionally the busiest days of the fair. Since local students enjoyed fall break earlier this month and are in school this week, it is likely many parents waited until the weekend to attend, he said.
Dominic Vivona, Amusements of America owner, said new rides and old favorites are big attractions to the fair. The Sizzler is an active thrill ride with spinning arms and a center, while The Simulator is just that – a ride  that simulates different thrilling scenarios.
The rides have shown a very positive response from fair visitors, he said.“I am very optimistic for the rest of the week.”
The midway’s Kiddie Land has a new ride as well – the Wild West Train.
The kid’s section “makes parents feel a lot more confident” in bringing small children to the fair, because it is separate from the rest of the midway and keeps little ones in a safe, more child-oriented environment, Pease said.
Colson said judging by phone calls he has been receiving, many from other counties, this weekend will be busy.
Most callers ask about wrist stamps. Those were sold Tuesday and Thursday and will be offered again tonight and Saturday. Wrist stamps are $15 tonight from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m., for “Moonlight Madness.”
Saturday, wrist stamps are $20 but will be good all day, and enable bearers unlimited rides.
Colson praised the Bulloch County Sheriff’s Office for its help in “keeping the fair a safe, family event.”  Deputies are on site each night, patrolling parking lots as well as the fairgrounds, he said.

Holli Deal Bragg may be reached at (912) 489-9414.

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