Good weather and an increase in attendance has Fredericksburg Agricultural Fair General Manager Travis Bullock feeling good about this year’s event.
“This is my 11th fair. I honestly and truly don’t know how things could’ve been any better received over the 10 days,” Bullock said.
Fair attendance increased by this year by about 2,000, bringing in a total of 35,000 people over the 10-day run that ended Aug. 4, Bullock said. The fair’s new attractions, bingo and an all-seasons ice rink, drew positive responses from fairgoers.
The ice skating rink made about $900, according to Jessie Gray, the rental manager of Trainham Tent Rental Inc. While the company had hoped the rink would be more successful, Gray said since this was its first appearance at the fair, this year was considered a “dry run” to get the word out about the rink.
The company is hoping to book other events down the line, and is talking with fair officials about the possibility of returning next year.
Bullock said the weather, which brought only one day of rain, was a welcome difference from last year’s event, which was marred by rain on multiple days.
“It was almost a picture-perfect 10 days. You really couldn’t ask for any better weather and everything went smoothly,” he said.
The Agricadabra Magic Show, performed by hypnotist Brad Matchett, had packed crowds every night and staff had to bring in extra chairs some nights to accommodate for the large crowds, according to Bullock.
“I had some hilarious people on stage [which] made for a great show,” said Matchett.
“He’s one of the best shows on the East Coast, probably in the country,” Bullock said.
In the same vein, musician Steve Jarrell brought in a crowd of about 500 people and Michael Hoover’s Memories of Elvis show also drew a large audience.
The fair’s July 28 monster truck show was popular, even though high temperatures kept drying out the dirt track and creating a cloud of dust that overtook guests a few times during the show.
“We had some problems with kicking the dirt up, because we didn’t have enough water on it, so we had a little sand, dust storm. But other than that, I think it was a pretty good show,” Bullock said.
The recently renovated Poultry and Rabbit Barn made it a good year to be a chicken or rabbit at the fair, Bullock said.
“I know the rabbit, chicken people are happy because they had a new little venue with concrete floors and new cages,” he said.
Bullock praised the work of volunteers for making the event a success.
“A lot of our volunteers put in 80-plus hours. They’re the backbone of the fair,” he said.
Bullock has already started looking ahead to next year. He said he has secured a contract with fan-favorite NoJoe the Clown to return.