People crowded in as close as they could to hear Old Dominion Saturday night at the Chase County Fair. With more than 3,000 tickets sold, the concert that opened with singer Casey Donahew was the best attended since the standing only area was added. (Johnson Publications photo)
Two-year-old Sayble Phipps is all smiles as she awaits her chance to show off her calf in the open class bucket calf division at this year’s Chase County Fair Beef Show. (Johnson Publications photo)
Saturday concert ticket sales over 3,000
By Russ Pankonin
The Imperial Republican
Chase County fair board members started sharing high fives late in the Old Dominion concert after learning ticket sales broke the 3,000-mark.
Ticket sales of 3,050 represent the highest number of tickets for a single night since the fair switched to standing/bleacher-only tickets.
This year’s Saturday night concert featured Casey Donahew and the group Old Dominion.
Fair Board Entertainment Chair Alex McNair said the combination of entertainers drew a wide age demographic of fans.
Old Dominion features a pop country style while Donahew features what people in the industry call Red Dirt or Outlaw country.
In addition, McNair said Old Dominion has a number of songs that have risen up the country charts, helping to bolster the crowd.
McNair said Saturday’s crowd was 350 more than the 2,700 who attended the Jake Owen concert last year.
While the fire-rated capacity of the grandstands and standing area totals slightly more than 3,700, McNair said an attendance number of 3,000 is just about right. It would really be packed with another 700 people, he noted.
Friday’s rock concert drew around 1,600 people to hear Quiet Riot and Foghat perform.
Typically, rock music draws smaller crowds than the country genre, McNair said, but attendance levels show there’s still a great interest in rock music.
He said they will continue to offer a night of rock and a night of country for the foreseeable future.
Wednesday’s Christian Family Show that featured artist Danny Gokey drew a crowd of around 650 people. That’s an uptick of 250 from last year when the event was held off the grounds at the school.
Taking the Christian Family Show off the fairgrounds likely won’t occur again, McNair has said.
The one-night attendance record for the fair dates back to the 1985 centennial celebration.
That year, the fair sold out two performances of the Oak Ridge Boys fair in advance of the fair. At that time, seating capacity was listed at 4,000 seats.
Oxford: fair a great success
Fair Board President Chad Oxford said “everything was a great success” at this year’s fair.
About the only hitch that occurred during the week came Wednesday when the mutton bustin’ had to be called off.
On Tuesday night, Oxford said he received a call from the wife of the sheep stock provider informing him her husband has suffered a heart attack that day.
On Wednesday, she told Oxford there was no way any of their family would be able to provide the sheep for the event. As a result, the event was cancelled.
Oxford said everyone he’s talked to has offered nothing but positive comments about this year’s fair.
He said the fairgrounds were busy with activity all week.
The Imperial Lions Club reported their fifth best gross receipts, dating back to 1994 when the club’s current treasurer began keeping records.
The Imperial Young Farmers & Ranchers served 830 people at the barbeque Saturday, which is about a normal crowd, according to organizers.
Oxford said the carnival experienced a bigger-than-normal Friday night and were pleased overall with their stop here.
In fact, Oxford said they tacked on another three years to the Heart of America Shows contract with the fair.
The board still had one year remaining on the present contract and went ahead and locked in the dates for 2019 through 2021.
The fair board raised around $3,500 through a drawing for a new John Deere Gator. Proceeds will be used toward future bathroom improvements.
Oxford said they made some improvements this year on the ladies-only bathroom north of the grandstand entrance.
The building received a new roof and soffit, along with a baby-changing station.
He said they plan to make some more improvements to other bathrooms before next year’s fair, which is scheduled for Aug. 12-19, 2018.
Fair dates for the three following years will be:
2020—Aug. 9-16; and
The Imperial Republican will include complete fair coverage over the next two to three issues, and a special tabloid section will be published in early September with results from all the 4-H/FFA and open class events.