Fair showing: Event had near-record crowds

Published 4:30 am Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Thousands of visitors poured through the Washington Parish Fairgrounds over the last week to visit the annual free fair.

Fair vice president Jackie Boone said this year’s fair, the 105th, had one of the best turnouts ever.

“It’s in the top four, as far as the turnout and the profit from the midway go,” she said.

On Tuesday, Boone said it was still too early to know exactly how much money people spent at the fair, but she said it was close to half a million dollars.

“I know it’s under a half a million, but it was close,” she said. “This is one of the top years.”

The fair kicked off on Tuesday with the crowning of Lexie Nicole Hebert, this year’s fair queen, and continued through Saturday night.

Boone said she was happy that the bridge and several buildings were rebuilt after March flooding, and noted that she heard few complaints, despite the crowds.

“The only complaint I really had was the parade being a little slower than normal and it being backed up in a little slower,” she said.

The parade was on Wednesday, and Boone said organizers are already planning improvements to make next year’s parade run smoother.

“We’re going to work on the parade and the routing to make sure everyone keeps up and it flows smoother, especially coming into the fairgrounds,” she said.

A cool snap kept temperatures comfortable for the latter part of the fair and blue skies for the duration of the celebration meant heavy turnout. But despite the crowds, law enforcement reported no serious incidents.

“The fair was very quiet and there were minimal minor incidents,” Washington Parish Sheriff Randy Seal said. “We had a heavy law enforcement presence if needed; however, it wasn’t and we are grateful for that.”

Deputies did ticket 17 minors for alcohol Wednesday, but the sheriff said they could find no more offenders after the initial crackdown.