NEW HAVEN — Addison County Fair and Field Days drew to a close on Aug. 11 following another run that officials called a success in spite of some rain that drenched the site during portions of three days of the annual event’s five-day span.
Jim Foster, president of the Field Days board, estimated attendance at this year’s 64th annual Field Days was around 15 percent lower than last year’s edition. During a good year (like last year), Field Days draws between 25,000 to 30,000 visits, according to Foster.
“It was not a record year, but a good fair overall,” said Foster, who is confident the Field Days budget will at least break even when all the numbers are tabulated.
Weather was stellar for the first two days of the fair — Tuesday, Aug. 7, and Wednesday, Aug. 8 — then deteriorated during the final three days. But events largely went off without a hitch, including the fireworks show on Saturday night.
“The attitude of fair-goers was pretty positive,” Foster said. “Everything went smoothly.”
He didn’t think the construction on Route 17, the main route to the fairgrounds, had a big impact on attendance.
“The locals know how to find their way around it,” Foster said. “And we’ll have a nice new road next year.”
This year’s fair showcased the new post-and-beam forestry building that has become part of the growing and improved Field Days campus. Organizers continue to envision more upgrades to the grounds, including redoing the bathrooms at the horse area. Interest continues to grow in antique farm equipment and techniques showcased at Field Days, which raises discussion about possible capital investments in that area.
“Obviously, the dreams are down the road,” Foster said of the board’s commitment to stay within budget. “It all takes money; we have to pace ourselves.”
Organizers were pleased to see a nice mix of locals and visitors come through the gates during the five-day extravaganza. Folks from as far away as Arizona and California made a point of checking out the state’s pre-eminent agricultural fair. It proved, as usual, an annual pilgrimage and reunion spot for hundreds of Addison County families.
The Field Days board will meet next month to begin planning the 2013 Field Days.
Look for more results from Field Days competitions in Thursday’s edition of the Independent. Reporter John Flowers is at [email protected]