Record crowds turn out for county fair's final night

Saline County Fair 2012 is now history and fair officials are pleased with the community response.
Tom Wallace, a member of the Saline County Fair Association Board, said total attendance for the week was estimated at 30,000.
For the last night, attendance was at an all-time high, he said. "The parking lots stayed full and there were lines everywhere, but everyone seemed to be having a great time.
"Attendance at the two nights of the rodeo was 3,500," Wallace said.
The rodeo competition drew 247 cowboys and cowgirls who received a total payout of $27,266 in prize money," he said.
"Audrey Lee, a flag bearer, led the grand entrance each night along with the Cowgirl Chicks," Wallace noted.
"Audrey Lee and Skylar Wise carried the state and national flags for the parade downtown, and Lee and the Cowgirl Chicks carried the American flag at each performance of the rodeo," he said.
The rodeo performance was produced by H & H Rodeo Co. of Little Rock.
"We had a full house Saturday night," he said. "The stands were full.
"And the midway managers, Jim and Tom Evans of Evans Family Shows, were pleased with the participation and will be coming back again next year," Wallace said.
"Attendance was down early in the week during the 100-degree temperatures, but picked up toward the end of the week," he said.
"We sign a contract with them before they leave town," Wallace said, "so we know they're definitely coming back."
He pointed out that Jim Evans' dog, Molly the Great Dane, "draws a crowd wherever she goes. The kids love her."
Wallace expressed appreciation to all of the fair sponsors. "We appreciate everyone who supported us," he said.
"We had over 200 special needs children from county schools on Special Needs Day, which is more than we've ever had before," he said.
"We fed about 100 seniors on Senior Citizens Day and on Wednesday we fed all of the carnival people. We had a good turnout.
"We're especially proud of our counselors and teachers for bringing the special needs kids to the fair," Wallace noted. "Those kids really appreciate it. For some of them, it's the only time they get to do something like that. They send us letters thanking us for getting to come. It's amazing what it does for their morale.
"They look forward to it every year," Wallace added.
Fair officials already are involved in plans for the 2013 events, he noted.
"We're always planning ahead, but we thank everyone who attended and supported us this year," he said.