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Rain pouring on the Ashtabula County Fair puts damper on attendance

Star Beacon - 8/12/2017

Aug. 12--JEFFERSON -- Pouring rain accompanied by rumbles, crackles and bangs are never good for fair attendance.

A mid-day storm on Friday soaked the Ashtabula County fairgrounds but didn't dampen the spirits of those determined folks who braved the elements on Veterans Appreciation Day, where veterans had free admission to the grounds all day.

Mark Woissol of the Ashtabula County Veterans Commission manned a table inside the Commercial Building, alongside the Disabled American Veterans table.

There are more than 9,000 veterans in the county and many don't know there are services out there for them, he said.

Vietnam Veteran George Boh, of Harpersfield Township, said he enjoys any time he spends with fellow veterans, including the fair.

Korean War veteran James Hubbard, of Ashtabula, said rain didn't stop him from enjoying the fair. He perused the barns, talked with fellow veterans and hoped the skies cleared before the start of the Demolition Derby.

About 11 a.m., the storm hit, torrential rain, wind and rumbling thunder toppled awnings and sent fair-goers running for cover.

One of those running was Tracy Housel, who was volunteering in the historic log cabin.

"Of course it's raining -- it's the fair," she said.

Katherine Ramsey, 60, of Ashtabula, said it was the coolest fair, temperature wise, that she could remember.

"It's usually hot and humid," she said. "Up until this rain, the weather has been perfect -- at least I think so."

Donning a rain poncho, Gail Brockett, of Pierpont, was one of 200 or so people who waited in the grandstand for the noontime harness races to start after a rain delay.

Brockett had a 2-year-old colt in the eighth race.

"We were into horse racing for 25 years when we decided we were too old," Brockett said. "Three years later, we're back."

Despite the rain, her sister, Rita Locke, showed up to cheer on the colt.

"I am here to help them carry all the money home," she joked.

The women were two of 100 or so people in the grandstand for the second day of harness racing.

The races have made a comeback at the fair, said Sue Stockwell, speed superintendent.

"We got one race in before the rain,"

she said.

About an hour

later, the races resumed to the delight of loyal fans like Bill Carter, an Army veteran from Ashtabula, who said he likes betting on the horses.

"I usually go home with an extra dollar or two," he said.

Thursday's late afternoon races were better attended with 300 or more attendees, followed by a Cowboy Obstacle Course, which also was well attended, according to the fair board.

Tuesday and Wednesday attendance was the best its been in years, with more than 4,000 people on the fairgrounds, according to the fair board. Thursday's attendance was unavailable.

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(c)2017 the Star Beacon (Ashtabula, Ohio)

Visit the Star Beacon (Ashtabula, Ohio) at www.starbeacon.com

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