What a difference a year makes.
Having drawn just shy of 123,000 people, the 16th annual Cumming Country Fair & Festival posted the second largest attendance in its history, said David Horton, fairgrounds administrator.
While this year’s turnout didn’t quite top the 2006 record of more than 127,500, it’s a stark contrast from last year, when rainy weather limited attendance to about 86,000.
“It was a great year,” Horton said. “Of course, we had the weather to complement it. We probably couldn’t have asked for any better weather as far as consistent temperatures throughout and blue skies.”
The fair, which ran from Oct. 7 through Sunday, featured more than 40 rides and numerous games for children of all ages.
The teacup ride was a favorite with small children, Horton said, but the Cyclops was a clear favorite for older kids, Horton said, followed by the Hammer and the pirate ship.
Oct. 9 posted the largest crowd, but the following Monday was student night, which also packed the fairgrounds.
Horton, who is constantly working during the fair, said he didn’t get a chance to take in an entire concert.
“I’m able to see the beginning of it or maybe the end of it, and all the crowds we had for our concerts were just really enthusiastic,” he said. “All of them put on great shows.
“They were very interactive with the crowd and it was fun to see the crowd getting pumped up for the concerts.”
Colt Ford had the biggest crowd, but Craig Morgan and Tanya Tucker were not far behind, said Horton, who has identified a few musicians for the 2011 fair.
Horton said he will wait until at least January to book any performers for next year, but likely will bring some different music genres to the 17th annual fair, as well as some new ground acts and events.
“We always mix things up,” he said. “We’re always looking at ways we can improve.”
On free admission days and free or discounted ride days, Horton said families streamed into the fairgrounds. The line at the gate stretched nearly to the downtown square, he said.
That was also his favorite part of the fair.
“When you open those gates and families come in and you just stand up there on the porch and watch, it’s just fun to see ... the kids looking down that aisle and looking down at those rides and their faces just light up,” Horton said.
“It’s just a new experience for some of them and just a new world that’s kind of neat to watch.”