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Thrills and chills
Festival weathers Mother Nature
Fair Goes 3 es
Sister and brother Tessa and Mason Gravitt enjoy a ride together Saturday at the Cumming Country Fair and Festival. - photo by Emily Saunders
Wet weather dampened the 15th annual Cumming Country Fair & Festival.

Cold and soggy days were a theme for much of this year’s event, which saw a drop-off in overall attendance by more than 21,000 visitors from last year.

“Overall, it was a tough fair,” said Fairgrounds Administrator Dave Horton. “Weather really hurt us bad on the whole run.”

Horton said fairgoers had “five good days out of 11.”

“We had six days that were affected pretty drastically by the weather. But what can you do about the weather? It’s an outdoor event. We have to take each day as it comes.”

Forsyth County resident Cindy Day said the weather nearly kept her from coming to the fair this year.

“We kept waiting for a good day to go,” said Day, who brought 5-year-old son Michael on Sunday.

“We got out of church today, and it was sunny,” she said. “It turned out nice today. We’re glad we waited.”

Horton said the weather broke records this year, but not the good kind.

“This was the worst stretch of weather we’ve ever had,” Horton said. “It was a tough year to take one like this, with the economy the way it is.”

On the other hand, Horton said, there have been many years where the fair saw near perfect blue skies and crisp autumn nights. Overall, this year’s attendance was 85,979.

Heavy rains caused officials to close the fair Oct. 12. Turnout bounced back the next day before drizzle returned Oct. 14-15 and lingered for much of the weekend.

Horton said sunny skies Sunday drew a record crowd.

“A lot of people came on Sunday,” he said. “We made the best of Sunday and the other sunny days this year. We were fortunate to get in the five days we did.”

Horton said even on the cold, drizzly days some residents “braved it.”

“There were some diehards that came out on some of the tough days,” he said. “... By the same token, they didn’t have any lines to stand in. They could really hit a lot of rides.”

County resident Paul King attended the fair twice this year with his wife and two children. Bad weather couldn’t stop them.

“It’s a tradition,” King said. “We go every year. You don’t mess with tradition.”