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Franklin Co. Fair organizers pleased with turnout

August 21, 2010|By C.J. LOVELACE, Staff Correspondent

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. -- Looking back at the past week, Franklin County Fair President Robert Eckstine was pleased with the 2010 event.

"So far, everything has went well," Eckstine said Friday. "It's probably run the same as it was last year. Wednesday night was kind of slow, but the other nights have been very good."

Friday night's truck and tractor pull historically is the biggest draw of the week, said Eckstine, who has been fair president for 10 years. He was happy to have great weather.

"Friday nights can make or break you," he said. "It's really nice out today (Friday), and a lot of people have been coming in -- lots of trucks and tractors."

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A quick stroll around the Chambersburg Rod and Gun Club confirmed Eckstine's statement. It was easily apparent that Friday's pull was more highly attended than the one on Wednesday. The traffic through the rides, food and vendor areas showed an increase as well.

"We're anticipating a really, really good night (Friday)," said Eckstine, who noted the fair usually doesn't wrap up before midnight on Friday.

Attendance for the fair is typically around 12,000 to 15,000 each year, and the numbers should be comparable this year, Eckstine said.

However, he said foot traffic through their exhibition building was up considerably this year. Fair-goers had the chance to enter for a $100 prize each night and a $200 prize drawing Saturday.

"I purposely put the ticket booth down in the far end of our one exhibit buildings, where people don't go a lot, and they had traffic going through there like you wouldn't believe," Eckstine said.

Several new events this year were well-received as well, he said. On Thursday, the fair welcomed ATV drag racing, which drew a "decent crowd," and hosted tractor square dancing on Saturday.

Eckstine was most pleased with the open horse show on Monday, not so much because of attendance, but because of two young members of the fair board who stepped up to make it happen.

Referring to them as "North and South Dakota," Eckstine said Dakota Hampton and Dakota Grove first approached him about running the horse show.

"I was very impressed with the fact that these two young people come in here at that age," he said, saying they were the youngest on the fair board at 18. "We gave it to them and they did a very, very good job with it."

When asked what his favorite part of the fair is every year, Eckstine said it's all about the youths.

The president said he's raised two of his own children around the fair and it's something he's been involved with since he was a child as well, when he was a 4-H club member.

"The third week of August is all that (my) family has known at the fair since the mid-1960s," he said. "It's just a really nice thing for kids."

Closing the fair, Saturday featured Family Fun Day, where admission was free until 1:30 p.m. From 2 to 4 p.m., youths were treated to free rides sponsored by Tower Bank, Eckstine said.

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