Board president pleased with fair
Photos from the 2010 Rock County 4-H Fair taken by Gazette photographers.
JANESVILLE It wasn’t one of the biggest Rock County 4-H Fairs of all times, but the new fair board president is pleased.
Bob Arndt was particularly pleased with Sunday’s rodeo, which packed the grandstand for two shows.
Sunday has always been a hard sell because many fairgoers want to go home and recharge for the work week ahead, Arndt said.
But thousands packed in to see the rodeo. Attendance for Sunday was 17,568. Final attendance for the fair was 80,258 That compares with 86,195 last year.
This year’s total is not as low as the lowest attendance in the past 22 years. The low was set in 1989, at 64,945.
On the other hand, the numbers for most years in the 1990s and ’00s exceeded 90,000.
Arndt said he doesn’t pay much attention to numbers. He notes that attendance was counted differently in past years and may have been exaggerated.
“I thought we had a respectable fair. I thought we did a good job,” Arndt said. “We did what we could do, and who comes is who comes.”
The rodeo showed what could be done if the fair board put its mind to doing something different and worked together, Arndt said.
“We worked real hard to get this rodeo to come here,” Arndt said. Much of that work involved coming up with a payment the rodeo wanted. Arndt would not reveal the sum, other than to say it was “not cheap.”
The fair board has had factions, with members wanting to work only on their own projects, Arndt said, but the rodeo shows what can happen when everyone pulls together.
Arndt said he would strongly recommend the rodeo return next year.
As for Wednesday’s controversial micro wrestling show, he said the crowd exceeded expectations, but he couldn’t speak for what the board might decide.
Arndt said it’s too early to start talking about what next year’s fair might bring.
“I guarantee we’ll do the best we can to put on family event so everybody can come and participate and that everybody can enjoy,” Arndt said.
People will always complain, Arndt noted, and you can’t please everyone.
Arndt said the real measure of the fair is not numbers but the impact on young people’s lives.
“We are building leaders of tomorrow today, and that’s a very, very important thing for me,” he said.