Fair board breaks even on Fourth festivities

The crowds weren’t huge for the Fourth of July celebration at the Washington County Fairgrounds, but the event brought in enough money to basically pay for itself, plus a little extra.

That’s according to fair board officials who are now looking to next week’s all-new three-ring circus for some potential income.

“I don’t have all of the invoices in from the Fourth of July, but I would say we made around $4,000 that day,” said Sandra Hickey, county fair board treasurer.

She said gate receipts indicated about 2,400 people attended the day-long event, which doesn’t include children 6 and under who were admitted free.

The bulk of attendance was later in the day as folks gathered for the demolition derby and fireworks display.

“Overall we were pleased with the public’s response on the Fourth,” Hickey said. “The revenue won’t have any impact on this year’s fair, but it will enable us to pay a few more day-to-day expenses before fair time.”

She said $1,600 in contributions from some area sponsors helped, including Eramet Corp., Pioneer Pipe, ParMar Stores and Peoples Bank.

The next big event at the fairgrounds will be the Carson & Barnes Circus July 18 and 19, from which the fair board will receive a share of the gate receipts, said fair board president Fred Boyd.

“The community has asked us to do something different at the fairgrounds during the summer, so that’s what we’re trying to do,” he said. “I’m pretty satisfied with the turnout we had on the Fourth of July. We started out expecting to be $5,000 in the hole after paying for the fireworks, but we had some sponsors who donated and we made enough to pay a few bills.”

Boyd said it’s hoped next week’s circus will provide some additional finances to help pay even more fair-related expenses.

“If we can do $4,000 to $6,000 from the circus I think we’d be satisfied,” he said.

The Carson & Barnes show is a brand new circus to the fairgrounds and promises to be a great event for the community, Boyd said.

“We were originally talking about just two circus shows on Saturday, but then they called and said how about two more shows on Friday? So we said OK,” he said.

Hickey noted there has been a circus in the Junior Fair Building at the fairgrounds in the past, but the Carson & Barnes Circus is a completely different show that will be under the big top on the track area below the fairgrounds grandstands.

“And we’ll be selling advance tickets at the fairgrounds office starting Sunday, the 13th, from 1 to 5 p.m., and then Monday through Thursday from 5 to 8 p.m.,” she said.

Advance tickets are $12 for adults and $6 for children age 11 and younger. A free child’s ticket will be included with each adult ticket purchased in advance. Children 2 and under are admitted free.

On the circus show days the cost at the gate is $16 for adult tickets and $10 for children.