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Rainy days at Fair may cost local charities
Despite record-breaking Tuesday, event hit by weather
Kiwanis Ogeechee Fair worker Keara Hodge finds the ticket booth slow going on Wednesday.
    Rain throughout the week made a negative impact on the 48th Annual Kiwanis Ogeechee Fair, beginning with a rained-out parade on Monday and ending with a soggy Saturday. This means there will be less money to send back into the community through donations in the upcoming year, said Statesboro Kiwanis Club President Barbara Price.
    All money taken in through gate admissions is filtered back into the community through donations to charities and other organizations. Traditionally, Mondays have been free admission night, but this year the club tried a new approach by "charging" a can of food, a nonperishable food item such as rice or pasta, or $1 to be donated to the Statesboro Food Bank, she said.
    This year's take on Monday brought 1,458 food items and $2,434 in cash for the food bank, she said.
    But rainy weather put a damper on rides and other attractions Monday night. Tuesday, however, was a record-breaking night for attendance, and the weather was cooperative.
    Then came  an abysmal Wednesday. "Tuesday was the only good day and Wednesday was a complete washout," Price said. "The other days weren't bad, but weren't great."
    Thursday, rain came and went, but people came to the fair anyway. Friday's local high school football games and Saturday's Georgia Southern University-Chattanooga game affected attendance, but not as much as the colder, wet weather, she said. " Saturday night it picked up a lot after the game."
    The club won't know how much the weather hurt income until the totals  - of gate admissions as well as expenses - come in, said fair chairman Darrell Colson. The rain " has affected us, but we don't know how much until all the bills come in."
    Saturday's attendance was " Ok, but not what we're used to," he said. Fridays are usually slower early in the evening due to local ball games, but the " Midnight Madness" wrist band sale after 10 p.m. usually draws a large crowd. The rain lulled that, too. It all adds up to less money that will be donated during the upcoming year, he said.
    Price said she estimated the proceeds are down by 20 percent, but " the expenses are not down," and that will indeed crimp donations. This has been the worst year as far as income she has ever seen, she said.
    "We've had rainy years, but ever this bad," she said. "We are disappointed there will be less money to give out, but we'll make the best of it."
     Holli Deal Bragg may be reached at 489-9414.

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