Fair makes hay in 75th year

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The Monroe County Fair concluded Sunday night with a lengthy fireworks display to send off its 75th year with a bang.

It was another good year for the fair, according to Monroe County Fair Association President Don Schrader. The last three days of the fair saw the largest attendance ever – though rainy weather earlier in the week caused some issues.

“The beginning of the week, it was down a little bit,” Schrader said of attendance. “The rain affected us on Tuesday and Thursday somewhat, but with the attendance being as large as it was Friday, Saturday and Sunday, it pretty well equalled out to another record year.”

Schrader said overall food stand showings were similarly excellent, with sales meeting or exceeding last year’s record.

Schrader attributed the fair’s success to the weather, which he said had folks coming out earlier in the evenings.

He said the attractions of the fair also seemed to have had an impact, specifically the addition of a model train display in the commercial building – which he said was quite successful – and the Sunday evening fireworks to celebrate the fair’s 75th anniversary.

When asked if those attractions would be making a comeback next year, Schrader said that decision is still up in the air.

“It’s gonna be up to the (fair) board to make those decisions what we wanna do with next year’s schedule, and we’ll be working on that coming up here in the early fall what we want to do for next year,” Schrader said. “Right now, we’re just trying to wind this fair down.”

Schrader commended Waterloo police for their help on the fairgrounds, saying that everything went smoothly with no major issues. 

The Waterloo Police Department confirmed that other than a couple of disturbances that brought no charges, fair week went smoothly.

Thursday’s 4-H and FFA livestock auction was also another success, netting $176,694 overall. Money raised through this auction goes directly to the young exhibitors.

Schrader also said the entire community should take pride in the quality and popularity of the Monroe County Fair.

“I can’t say enough for the community’s support, and that goes from individuals to community organizations,” Schrader said. “This is something that you don’t see in every community, and I think the community needs to take pride in what we have here in Monroe County. It’s kinda unique.”

This year’s Little Miss Kelsey Utz said she enjoyed fair week – especially all of the animal events she attended. But the best part of her fair week was being with Monroe County Fair Queen Sophia Dell.

“My favorite thing about being Little Miss Monroe County was spending time with Queen Sophia and my family,” Utz said. “It was the funnest, most tiring time of my life.”

Dell also spoke fondly of the time she spent with Utz, handing out ribbons to the county’s animal exhibitors and watching all the tractor pulls and derbies.

“Fair was an amazing experience that I was blessed to have,” Dell said. “Going into the week, I had no idea what to expect. But as I began to understand what being queen meant, I found myself excited to represent Monroe County.”

To view and purchase photos from this year’s Monroe County Fair, click here.

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