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Franklin: 4,000 attend nightly entertainments; almost 60,000 total

By Staff | Jul 24, 2009

It was cool enough for jackets, but not too cold for ice cream. John Dinnes and his daughter Norma, both of Minnesota, were enjoying ice cream Saturday afternoon. The was Dinnes' 18th year showing horses at the Franklin County Fair. His team of Suffolks were part of the parade that afternoon.

HAMPTON – Franklin County Extension director Bev Peters summed up the 150th edition of the Franklin County Fair by saying, “It was pretty cool.” She may not have had the weather in mind when she made that statement, but truer words were probably never spoken because the fair was cool, both in its success and the temperatures.

The cool weather that made long sleeves or a jacket feel good in mid-July did not diminish the fair in any way. Fair board president John Baltes, of Hampton, estimated total fair attendance to be close to 60,000 during its run last week. Each night’s grandstand events had over 4,000 in attendance according to Baltes.

The cool weather enhanced appetites with food vendors reporting very good sales, said Peters. “Some almost ran out of food,” she said. Baltes said the fair’s ice cream vendor normally sells 190 cups of ice cream, but sold over 200 this year. Another vendor reported selling 600 corn dogs in one night. The Franklin County Cattlemen had strong sales of their ribeyes and hamburgers Saturday night.

This year’s attractions included some new ones and the return of past ones. New attractions included the kid’s scramble where animals were released in a pen and children were to catch and return them. The youngest age group caught rabbits. An intermediate age group caught chickens. An older age group caught pigs that had been coated with cooking oil.

Attractions added to this year’s fair not done recently, but from the past, were the demolition derby, fireworks show, and a cowboy-style gunfight held each afternoon following the parade on the fair’s old time main street, Pleasant Hill, built to resemble an early 1900s town. Pleasant Hill and Grandpa’s Farm located near the fairgrounds serve to show rural life from 100 years ago.

It was the teenagers' turn to be a judge Saturday afternoon in a market hog judging event. From left, are Sophie Hansen, of Adel, Drew Abbas, of Alexander, Kenrick Suntken, of Belmond, Alex Dohrmann, of CAL, and Clayton Miller, of CAL.

This was the second year for Grandpa’s Tractor Cruise and it was held on opening day for tractors over 25 years of age. Trophies were awarded for best of show, best restoration, and most original condition.

John Baltes, Hampton farmer and a fair board member for nine years, said that a frequent question asked by people attending this year’s fair is, “What are you going to do next year?” Over the next months the fair board will be deciding exactly that, Baltes said.

Contact Clayton Rye by e-mail at crye@wctatel.net.

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Saturday afternoon's Kids' Scramble at the Franklin County Fair lived up to its name as animals were released and it was the youths' jobs to catch them. The youngest group caught rabbits, an intermediate group caught chickens and this class of older children caught greased pigs.

John Dinnes, of Eldora, and his daughter, Norma, of Minnesota, drive his team of Suffolk Punch horses in last week’s Franklin County Fair parade. This was Dinnes' 18th year showing horses at the fair.