Fine weather greets concert; rain washes out tractor-truck pull
PRINCETON — People looking for variety at the 163rd Bureau County Fair, which ended its five-day run Sunday, certainly got it.
They got a variety of grandstand attractions, carnival rides, exhibits, livestock shows, fair food, musical acts at the Hospital Building — and even a variety of weather conditions, to boot.
“Friday, I know I was wearing a sweatshirt and had the hood up part of the time,” Fair Board Executive Secretary Kathy Bauer said.
“By Saturday afternoon, the sweatshirt was lying on the floor of the car,” Bauer said with a laugh.
From pleasant temperatures and low humidity as the fair opened Wednesday, to the threat of storms that canceled Friday night’s truck and tractor pull, to hot, humid conditions over the weekend, the weather kept fair organizers on their toes.
“It’s Illinois in August, you know,” Bauer said.
The fair featured perfect weather for Thursday night’s country music concert featuring Scotty McCreery, which attracted a big crowd, Bauer said.
“To look out from backstage and see a sea of people,” Bauer said. “It was just an amazing show.”
Bauer praised the 24-year-old country music star.
“He’s got a great voice. It couldn’t have been a nicer night. He was a lot of fun,” she said.
The next night, however, the threat of bad weather, with drizzly, rainy conditions, pulled the plug on the truck and tractor pull at the same venue.
That was “a big hit to us,” Bauer said.
But that set the stage for a huge turnout the next day, when the Demolition Derby took place.
“Saturday was probably the biggest day we’ve had in a long time, just because Friday was not,” Bauer said.
“That was an absolutely huge day.”
Temperatures remained hot on Sunday, but most people found ways to beat the heat at the fairgrounds.
“People kept drinking the lemonade shakeups and finding a little shade somewhere,” Bauer said.
Did anyone have any particular trouble with the heat?
“The only thing I heard, there was a couple of cowboys in the rodeo in the afternoon that got kind of hot,” she said.
Bauer, who has been on the fair board for more than 20 years, had praise for all the volunteers who make everything happen.
She also complimented the Second Story talent show performers, about 20 of them, who sang and played music Wednesday at the grandstand.
“Oh man, they were good. … The kids just did an awesome job,” Bauer said.
The fair’s Hospitality Building, built several years ago, has proved popular with fairgoers, she said.
“It’s just a big reunion in there,” she said.
The watermelon giveaway that began at noon on Sunday is also popular.
“That’s a nice cool treat on a hot day,” Bauer said.
Plans are already being made for the 164th Bureau County Fair, scheduled for Aug. 21-25, 2019.
“It’s a year-round effort to get everything lined up,” Bauer said.
As for the 2018 fair, Bauer said: “I think it went well. Every year we try to make things as smooth as possible and hope that people are happy and enjoying themselves.”