Bennett: 14K fair crowd breaks record

Published 8:40 pm Monday, October 22, 2012

Some 14,000 people attended last week’s Kiwanis Covington County Fair – a record, said Wayne Bennett, fair president.

Last year, an estimated 11,000 attended the seven-day event, but this year, fair attendees turned out by the droves to enjoy nearly 100 booths, countless fair entries and of course, James Gantgrides on the midway.

“Attendance on Friday and Saturday were very close,” Bennett said. “But, once the numbers were in, we found out Saturday was our best night with 3,342 coming through the gate. On Friday, there were 3,310.

“These are the best numbers we’ve had since we went to a seven-day fair about 10 years ago,” he said.

Family night, which was on Wednesday, brought 2,645 through the gate, he said.

Bennett said on Tuesday morning, the club hosted 320 disabled people.

“We do this each year and offer free admission and free lunch for disabled adults,” he said. “This year, we opened it up to include the severely disabled children from each of the county’s three school systems. I can really see us expanding this in the future.”

In total, the even raised more than $100,000 for the club, he said.

“(The event) was good in terms of people who came, who were served and a lot of fun was had by all,” Bennett said. “The big thing is that with the money we raised, we can turn around and put that into community service projects, which is mostly done in the form of donations to organizations that help kids.”

Bennett said it also goes toward helping the club meet is $29,000 annual debt payment on the Kiwanis building.

He said it took a team of more than 100 volunteers to man this year’s fair, which also included members from the Tri-Cities Kiwanis Club in Florala, who manned the outside concession stand.

“What people see is the week of the fair, not what is done the week before and the week after,” he said. “It takes a lot of time and work, and that’s time members spend away from the family. Without them, we couldn’t have done it.”