County fair withstands heat, but not rain

Final day of 2022 fair featured one event, all others canceled following morning storms

OREGON — Despite a weekend of intense heat and strong storms, Ogle County Fair organizers are “well pleased.”

The bar for attendance was high when compared to last year’s event, when COVID-19 restrictions were starting to loosen, said Tom Simpson, Ogle County Fair president.

“I’m guessing we had about 17,000 people come in the four days we were open,” he said. “That’s right in the average [attendance for four days], but on the upper end.”

The 2022 Ogle County Fair ran Aug. 3-7, although all but one of Sunday’s events — the 9 a.m. Junior Goat Show — were canceled because of heavy rain. About 2.5 inches of rain fell Sunday, most of it between 7 and 11 a.m., according to the National Weather Service.

It forced fair organizers to cancel the 1 p.m. Tri-County Pullers grandstand event, and talks with the carnival folks led to that also being canceled, Simpson said. In the end, the decision to shut down the entire fair was made, he said.

The closure did impact the fair association’s income, Simpson said. He did not have numbers.

“Obviously, it’s our last day. It gives people one last chance to come and enjoy the fair, and that was a missed opportunity for us,” he said.

Saturday, Aug. 6, saw temperatures in the 90s, with heat indexes as high as 107 degrees, according to the NWS.

“I believe it [the heat] turned away a few people because it was just so extremely hot,” Simpson said. “But we still had people come out and enjoy themselves at the fair.”

The “Pirates of the Colombian Caribbean” high-wire act and the “Wolves of the World” show both received great reviews, he said.

There also was a huge turnout for the rodeo, Simpson said. It always has been popular, but seemed to be even more so this year compared to the truck pulls, tractor pulls and demolition derby.

“We had excellent volunteers that helped get people in and out of the fairgrounds, as well as coming through the gates,” Simpson said. “We’re always looking for volunteers every year during fair week, as well as off fair week weekends, because the fair grounds still need to be kept up — mowing and trimming and stuff.”

Anyone interested in volunteering can contact the fair office at 815-732-6962 or visit www.oglecountyfair.com.

Alexa Zoellner

Alexa Zoellner

Alexa Zoellner covers Ogle County for the Oregon Republican Reporter, Forreston Journal, Mt. Morris Times and Polo Tri-County Press. She has six-plus years of experience in journalism and has won numerous awards.