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State of the Fair
Record attendance may recoup any rainy weather losses
101409 FAIR RAIN 01
Glenn Campbell sports some head gear to protect him from the rain while he waits for customers at the Kiwanis Ogeechee Fair on a rainy Wednesday. - photo by SCOTT BRYANT/staff
    In spite of rainy weather that nixed the fair parade Monday and dampened the fairgrounds Wednesday, record attendance Tuesday, paired with hopefully decent weather the rest of the week, could help recoup any losses, said Kiwanis Ogeechee Fair Chairman Darrell Colson.
    Colson, along with Statesboro Kiwanis Club President Barbara Price and Amusements of America owner Dominic Vivona, spoke to club members and guests Thursday during the club's regular weekly meeting.
    Usually the club meets inside its community building, but each year during the fair, Amusements of America employees treat the club to a meal in the Pancake House, a gesture of appreciation for what the Statesboro Kiwanis Club does for the midway organization.
    Vivona said his employees and family love Statesboro because of the "warm welcome" they receive from the club members. "This is their favorite place," he said.
    That's because church groups and other organizations treat carnival workers to dental and medical aid, meals, and more during their visits here, he said.
    That, paired with the way the Amusements of America group is treated like family, makes employees and others look forward to the week each October spent in Statesboro, he said.
    Colson agreed that the long-term relationship between the Vivonas and the club is much like family. He said some of the Amusements of America leaders are even in his cell phone " Circle of Friends" program.
    The " fair family" extends to the Bulloch County Sheriff's Department, he added, thanking Bulloch County Sheriff Lynn Anderson for his department's help each year.
    "I'd like to thank the Kiwanis Club," said Anderson, who was a guest at Thursday's meeting. "Y'all are like family to us. We work very well with you, have a good working relationship. We hope for good nights these next three days and we'll be out in full force."
    Bulloch County Sheriff's deputies volunteer for " fair duty" and help direct traffic and patrol the fairgrounds to deter any trouble and handle any issues that arise.
    Price told the group that  in spite of Monday's rain,  gate admissions - which were either $1 or a canned good to give to the Statesboro Food Bank - netted 1,458 cans of food, an undetermined amount of pasta and nonperishable foods, and $24,034 for the food bank. This was the first year Monday's admission price was for the agency.
    And Tuesday night's attendance was a record, she said. Money taken in at the gate funds donations the club filters back into the community throughout the year.
    Wednesday was a very poor night for attendance, but decent weather Thursday, tonight and Saturday night could make up for the losses, she said. "We have to make up for a bad Wednesday and a mediocre Monday."
    Vivona spoke about changes to the fair midway - the addition of The Extreme, which he said had a gravitational pull "that will deaden your legs" and a new picnic area out front. There are additional benches for people wanting a break, too, and several photo opportunity booths and hand sanitation stations. "It's as close to an amusement park as you can get," he said.
    "We've got a fair and a Kiddie Land we'd put up against Disney World," Colson said.
    Everyone was hopeful for a great finish to a slow week. "We're not so far behind we can't catch up, with a little sunshine and a little good luck," Vivona said.  
    Reminding club members and guests that the proceeds from the fair are used for donations to agencies and causes focused on children, Price said "We are here serving the children of the world, one child at a time."
     Holli Deal Bragg may be reached at (912) 489-9414.

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