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Cumming fair brings in more than 172,000 despite one day closure
fair
Fairgrounds Administrator Dave Horton said the fair still had a strong showing, with 172,505 people despite a day of bad weather.

Despite having to close one day due to bad weather, this year’s Cumming Country Fair & Festival was a success.

Fairgrounds Administrator Dave Horton said the fair, which closed on Sunday after 11 days, didn’t top the 2016 total of 222,007 but still had a strong showing, with 172,505 coming out. One factor in the drop was the one day closure Sunday, Oct. 8, due to bad weather.

“It was not a record fair. We didn’t expect it to be with some of the weather concerns we had, but [we were] very pleased with the numbers and just the fair overall,” Horton said. “It was a lot of fun; we had some new things out there with the ground acts and entertainers, and the crowd was great.”

While the attendance record wasn’t broken this year, it was higher than any other year except 2016.

From 2012 to 2016, the record was broken each year except 2014.

In 2012, the record was set at 141,000 and was broken the next year with 167,616. A rainy 2014 saw the total slide to about 154,000, before hitting nearly 168,000 in 2015.

Before 2012, the record was set at 127,500 in 2006.

Horton said the missed day, which he called a zero day, was a rarity for the fair.

“We had a zero day, but when you do outdoor events that’s something you’ve got to be prepared for and deal with,” he said. “This is our 23rd year and in 23 years, counting this year, we’ve only had six zero days, so that’s a pretty good percentage.”

He said two other days were affected by weather but four days - the first Thursday and Friday and second Saturday and Sunday - set records for those days.

“We were very pleased with the outcome and the folks that came in,” Horton said. “We had a lot of new folks that we met throughout that had never been and a lot of old friends that come back every year.

Performing at this year’s fair were country music superstars Kellie Pickler, Gene Watson and Thompson Square, along with local acts. The American Bullriders Tour closed out the fair’s last two days. 

The fair also hosted new ground acts — Lady Houdini, Cowboy Woody, Firemen High Dive Show, Atlanta Puppet Show and Horses Horses Horses- along with longtime favorites like Master of Chainsaw Brian Ruth, Oscar the Robot and Michelle’s Magical Poodles. 

As usual, Cherokee Indian Village, which consists of two historical log cabins and other buildings and traditional performances and demonstrations, was one of the most popular parts of the fair.

Year round at the fairground is Heritage Village, a “living history exhibit” with a blacksmith shop, saw mill, cotton gin and many other historical buildings and exhibits. 

Horton said the fair tried to have acts for all ages and fairgoers complemented the fair’s facilities and layout.

“The ground acts are scattered out,” Horton said. “So, they can go from one end to the other and there’s always a show they can catch or something they’re walking by. Of course, anyone that is there is looking for the famous fair food, whether it be funnel cakes or fried Oreos or corndogs or whatever it might be there.”

Just days after the last day of the fair, Horton said the fairground is already looking ahead to next year and other events happening this fall. 

“I sent an email out Monday morning on some things for next year,” Horton said. “So, I’m waiting on some replies and we’ll be working on that pretty strong in the next week. We’re finalizing cleanup right now, and then we’ve got events each weekend through the second week of December, so there’s not any time to necessarily rest on our laurels; it’s a busy fall.”