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Rain taking a toll on Jefferson Co. Fair this week

August 22, 2007|By DAVE McMILLION

LEETOWN, W.Va. - One thing the Jefferson County Fair is usually blessed with is good weather.

The streak came to an end during this week's fair, with rainy weather moving in Sunday, Monday and Tuesday.

Fair President Bob Gruber said he figures the fair has had about a 30-year stretch of good weather.

So it stands to reason that the good luck would run out sometime.

"I guess this is it," said Gruber as he surveyed a livestock judging event in a barn at the fairgrounds along Leetown Pike Tuesday night.

Heavy rain moved through the county Monday, forcing fair organizers to postpone a carnival ride special until Tuesday night.

Fair organizers went ahead with a demolition derby Monday, although the crowd was smaller than usual.

On Tuesday, a sheep dog demonstration was canceled due to the weather but livestock judging events have not been affected, fair spokesman Locke Wysong said Tuesday.

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Wysong said the rains have affected attendance and revenue at the fair this week, although it was not clear by how much.

Gruber said he doubts the fair can recoup the losses, even if the weather improves for the rest of the fair, which runs until Saturday.

Rainfall amounts were not available for the Charles Town, W.Va., area, but Martinsburg, W.Va., has received more than 2 inches of rain since Sunday, said Andy Woodcock, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Sterling, Va.

Two-tenths of an inch fell Sunday, 1.25 inches fell Monday and just less than three-quarters of an inch was recorded through 5 p.m. Tuesday, Woodcock said.

Tuesday evening, Tom Reilly was setting up a stand near the entrance to the fair, where he sells inflatable toys and other merchandise.

Reilly said he was going to set up his tent Monday night, but decided against it and instead sat with his nephew, who was operating a similar stand.

"We just sat under the tent for about an hour and went home because it rained so bad," Reilly said. "This lot here is usually full by now," he said, motioning toward a half-full parking lot at the fairgrounds Tuesday evening.

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