Manassas Journal Messenger | Heat, rain affected fair attendance

SPECIAL REPORT Hog Wild at the PWC Fair

Plagued by a heat wave and/or torrential showers, attendance at the 56th annual Prince William County Fair was down by 20,000 from last year.

Fair manager Keith Johnson said 65,000 visitors turned out during the nine days this year as compared to 85,000 last year.

“Those that came out said they had a lot of fun and the fair was great, but the weather really kept the crowds down,” he said.

A late afternoon downpour Aug. 16, which was half-price day, hurt the fair the most. Attendance was down about 10,000 from that day last year.

The garden tractor pull was canceled that night as only a very sparse crowd showed up, hurting the vendors who were expecting a large turnout.

“During the week, the pig races and petting zoo, along with the magician, were all crowd pleasers,” said Johnson. The Civil War encampment and antique tractors and cars were also popular attractions.

Johnson said there were few incidents but that the Lake Jackson Volunteer Fire Department handled upwards of 150 heat-related ailments, bee stings or minor bruises. One child in the grandstand was taken to the hospital after he was hit in the eye by mud during a mud bog.

Caroline Theros, daughter of Joel and Melanie Theros of Haymarket, won the ages 19-36 months girls baby contest. She had also won the baby contest in the ages 9-18 months division last year, making her likely the fair’s first two-time winner.

Johnson said plans are already beginning for next year’s fair to run Aug. 11-19, 2006.

“We know that we will keep motor sports events such as the tractor and truck pulls, the demolition derbies and the mud bogs because the crowds love that action. We have had many requests to bring back a rodeo and we may do that,” he said.

Despite a disappointing turnout for country music night that featured singer Billy Currington, Johnson said it will continue next year, “with the hope that we can land a good, young draw that is not too expensive.”

“We will also take a look at the exhibits but we still want to retain as much of an agriculture look as we can, including the livestock,” he said.

Johnson said it was due to the efforts put in by more than 300 volunteers that the fair goes on each year as it has.

“It would be difficult for us to offer as much as do without their help,” he said.

The traditional, family-oriented fair is sponsored by the Prince William Veterans Farm Club.

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