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Fair photo album

---Fair wraps up a week of sun and fun

Mike Heine/The Week

(Published Sept. 6, 2007, 1:56 p.m.)

Multimedia Gallery Snapshots from the Walworth County fair

Video of the Celebrity for Charity harness race.

The 158th annual Walworth County Fair wrapped up with a bang ... of cars that is.

The demolition derby closed down a fair that was drenched with nearly flawless weather, average attendance and a meat animal sale that shattered a year-old record.

The sale generated $450,267 for area youths, toppling last year's total of $397,376.

"The thing about the meat animal sale is the support this community and our county has for FFA and 4-H youth. It's unbelievable," said Bob Handel, fair board vice president.

Believe the rest of these notes from the fair. This is what else happened:

n Attendance totaled 157,605, topping last year by 263. Saturday was busiest with 35,197 coming through the gate. The record attendance, set in 1999, was 194,057.

n Mother Nature almost had those folks parking off grounds. More than a week's worth of rain soaked the parking lots in the days before last Wednesday's opening.

Volunteers from Mann Bros. Inc., BR Amon & Sons, Odling Construction, Snudden Farms and Pat's Sanitary Service worked virtually non-stop for two days draining the water from the parking lots and installing several new gravel roads where the midway semis park, said Sue Pruessing, fair marketing coordinator.

"Nobody even called. All of the sudden they were just here," Pruessing said.

A brief shower Wednesday afternoon was the only rain the entire week.

n The Walworth County Fair was the only known county fair in the Midwest to have hosted a Marriage on the Midway, organizers said.

Kristina Benash and William Nielsen Jr., both of Janesville, tied the knot Saturday afternoon by the Ferris wheel, then went for a ride with the wedding party and their families.

North American Amusement, the carnival company, gave the honored guests free rides and food. Several hundred others watched and cheered as the couple kissed for the first time as husband and wife.

n The fair continued its efforts to reach out to the area's Spanish-speaking population, Pruessing said.

Signs in the Kiddieland area were bilingual and Nabori, a salsa band from Milwaukee, played Monday on the Park Stage.

"A man, probably in his late 50s or early 60s, came up and, in broken English, said, 'I want to thank you for making this a nice experience for myself and for my grandchildren,'" Pruessing recounted. "He said he's never really been here before and that he heard ads on Hispanic radio stations. He was apprehensive about coming but said, 'You made me feel welcome.'

"To me ... that was something I felt good about."

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