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How next year's Cumming Country Fair & Festival could be safer
FCN Cumming Country Fair & Festival 7 101718

Those who attend next year’s Cumming Country Fair & Festival might be able to buy their admission tickets ahead of time and have a safer method of crossing Castleberry Road.

Those were among the topics discussed at a recent meeting of the Cumming Fair Advisory Board, the 14-member group installed and appointed by the Cumming City Council last June to provide recommendations to councilmembers about the city’s signature event.

According to Michelle Daniels, the board’s president, as well as director of tourism with the Cumming-Forsyth County Chamber of Commerce, members recommended the city offer online purchasing of admissions tickets. Ride tickets would continue to be sold at the fair.

Daniels also said Cumming Mayor Troy Brumbalow, who attended the meeting along with Cumming Fairgrounds Administrator Tracy Helms and other fairgrounds crew, talked about a pedestrian bridge connecting the parking lot on Castleberry Road to the Cumming Fairgrounds entrance to improve safety and eliminate traffic congestion during the event, particularly on its busiest days.

Other suggestions by the board were to implement a golf cart policy that would restrict usage to just fairgrounds employees, add additional seating throughout the fairgrounds and relocate the Heritage Village to a more central location. There was even talk of a food competition to highlight fair cuisine, complete with a junior competition, according to Daniels.

All of the board’s recommendations are non-binding and would require action to be taken by the city council, but Daniels said their ideas received a favorable reception.

“The fairgrounds crew and mayor were very receptive to all of our suggestions,” Daniels.

Helms presented a recap of this year’s fair that took place Oct. 4-14 at the meeting, reporting that it eclipsed several revenue records set during the 2016 event. Daniels said that Helms reported gate revenue increased $95,000, food vendor revenue was up 10 percent and attendance was estimated to be 219,000.

“Everything across the board was a win,” Daniels said.

Daniels said the board will next meet in January or February as the fairgrounds crew begins preparations for next year’s event.