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Fair crowd slightly down

Attendance at the Kiwanis Covington County Fair last week was slightly down compared to 2008, as fair organizers dealt with a down economy and with competing against Halloween and related events.

Fair board member Dee Catrett said total ticketed attendance for the week was 11,011, or $34,630 in gate revenue. In 2008, $38,474 was brought in from gate revenue and 11,960 tickets were sold.

The busiest night was Friday, when 3,527 people attended the fair. Wednesday, which was “family night,” had an attendance of 1,750, and Saturday had 1,675. Lowest attended days were Sunday (777) and Tuesday (734).

Saturday’s fair attendance was significantly down from last year; in 2008, Saturday was the busiest day by far, bringing in $15,866 in admission revenues. This year, several factors hurt Saturday’s attendance — namely the threat of inclement weather and Halloween-related activities such as Andalusia’s “Halloween on the Square.”

“It appears we may be less than last year, when you total everything up,” said Wayne Bennett, vice president of the fair board. “That’s probably almost entirely attributable to Halloween on the Square, and the competition there. We didn’t do nearly as well Saturday as we have in previous Saturdays.”

Preliminary reports, which did not include Sunday’s totals, listed gross revenues at $58,206, and the club’s percentage of midway sales was $20,570.

Expense reports were not readily available Monday. In the past, expenses have averaged about $25,900.

The dates for next year’s Kiwanis Covington County Fair are Mon., Oct. 18, through Sun., Oct. 24, 2010.

“We will avoid Halloween next year,” Bennett said.

Andalusia Kiwanis Club President Casey Thompson said the event would not have been a success without the help of club members and volunteers. He especially thanked the Florala Tri-Cities Kiwanis Club, which manned the midway concession stand, and also thanked Andalusia Regional Hospital employees who volunteered at the fair, whether they were club members or not.

“On behalf of the Kiwanis Club, I’d really like to thank Andalusia Regional Hospital for helping us out,” Thompson said. “Not only financially — they were one of our corporate sponsors — but also with their volunteers. There were a lot of hospital employees working the concession stand; when I visited, it seemed like there were two or three out there every night. We just really appreciate it.”