Fair was ‘excellent’

Published 12:00 am Monday, August 16, 1999

"Look at that," said Daryl Boehm, "Look at the grandstands.

Monday, August 16, 1999

"Look at that," said Daryl Boehm, "Look at the grandstands. It must be three-quarters full. And, look at the fairgrounds on a Sunday afternoon. Look at all the people. Look at the families walking around enjoying themselves. It was an excellent Mower County Fair."

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The 1999 edition of the County Fair concluded Sunday at the fairgrounds in Austin. Boehm, a rural Racine farmer and president of the Mower County Fair Board, said there was much to support calling the last County Fair of the millennium an "excellent" one."

"I know we could break last year’s records for attendance and participation and they were records," Boehm said. "The last County Fair of the millennium may have been the best in recent years."

On Sunday afternoon, the grandstands attraction was a demolition derby and like the one held last Wednesday night, it attracted a large number of participants as well as spectators.

That was the case throughout the County Fair for grandstands attractions. Beginning with last Tuesday night’s free gospel festival and continuing with a Wednesday night demolition derby, the debut of motocross motorcycle racing on Thursday night and two nights of Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association rodeo action, the attractions all proved to be crowd-pleasers.

Kyle Klaehn, a Fair Board member, credited the financial sponsorship and support the grandstands events received with helping make the events successful.

CT Farm and Country and Holiday Cars of Austin helped support the PRCA rodeo, Trimble’s Honda Cycle Center of Austin did the same for motocross and Napa Auto Center helped boost the demolition derbies, according to Klaehn.

"We had a super attendance for motocross," said Boehm. "We’re very pleased with the debut of that event. I even had people who went to the rodeos Friday and Saturday nights come up to me and thank us for bringing motocross racing to the Mower County Fair."

This year’s County Fair was photographed by Fair Board members and other events coordinators in an attempt to capture a permanent record of the last County Fair of the millennium.

Also, Richard and Margaret Andree from KSMQ-TV video-taped the County Fair every day for a film record of the people and events.

From 4-Hers and FFA teens to adults in open shows, creative and fine arts, horticulture and crafts. From Fred Lally’s two-headed rattlesnakes and turtles to the notorious bungee jump.

From draft horses to cow ponies in the rodeo. From Fay Stevens funnel cakes to the Loechers, Herb and Murl, and their Wonder Bars, the 1999 edition of the Mower County Fair seemed to please everyone.

Mrs. Stevens created her popular funnel cake pastries for the 20th consecutive County Fair and the Loechers were observing their 45th anniversary of serving, arguably, the most popular ice cream treat the annual August extravaganza.

"Our security did a fantastic job," Boehm said. "The Mower County Sheriff’s Deputies Mounted Posse, Austin-Mower County Police Auxiliary and the Austin Police Department all helped things go smoothly."

If there is a problem on the fairgrounds, it is a lack of space.

"I’m running out of room," Boehm said. "The fairgrounds parking lots were full several nights of the County Fair and we had to turn vehicles away. There are events like the antique tractors’ display that we would like to expand, but we just don’t have room."

Also obviously helping boost attendance is the fact the Mower County Fair is a "free fair." No admission is charged.

Boehm, who is serving his first term as president of the Fair Board, said he hopes it can remain free.

"I really do," he said. "This County Fair is all about families. We want to create a fair where families can come and have a safe, happy experience."