Thousands flock to the St. Joseph County Fair, exceeding expectations

NOW: Thousands flock to the St. Joseph County Fair, exceeding expectations

ST. JOSEPH COUNTY, Ind. - The 9-day St. Joseph County Fair is almost at its end, but at the fairgrounds, its eager fairgoers are still coming in by the hundreds because they had to miss out on all the fun last year.

And we’re told, that year off could have led to the extreme popularity and dramatic increase in attendees this time around.

There’s really nothing like a county fair to bring a sense of normalcy back

“It’s just nice to be able to see people in a crowd and enjoying the 4h fair this year," one fairgoer said.

And while officials are still counting up the official attendance number, they already know it’s been a successful year.

“This has been an exceptional year. We’ve seen a dramatic increase this year over our last fair," Jim Caldwell, the President of St. Joseph County 4H Fair said.

Caldwell attributes that to the economy, the pandemic being over and of course the $5 admission.

However, if the pandemic didn’t loosen up they’d be in a different situation.

“We’re a not-for-profit and our money dried up. We were in the hole," he said. “It could have been really devastating to go two years without the fair.”

Thankfully, with the high attendance rate this year, they will be able to cover most of those expenses of course with help from donors.

“This is a whole new atmosphere a whole new vibe. People are so excited to be here – like you can really tell," Autumn Schlutt, a manager at Neddermans said.

Schlutt and her family, the Neddermans have been a fair staple for 20 years.

"This is our roots," Schlutt said.

But even she has seen a difference in the crowd this year.

"Our sales are great – definitely a record year for us," she said. "Beef-wise, we’re selling thousands of pounds more, thousands of pounds more than we did the year before last.”

Of course, the big return was huge for the kids, who got to finally show off their animals, and the hard work they’ve put into their projects!

"It’s been a great celebration for the 4h kids," Caldwell said. "They’ve shown their livestock and projects to folks. Today is the big auction day.”

Madison Dosmann is just one of many of them, grateful to be back this year

"It’s extremely exciting especially since it’s been so long," Dosmann said. “I just sold my reserve grand champion Peking ducks and my grand champion overall the Broilers.”

There are winners all around but the biggest accomplishment... Michiana's rebound.

Now, it is wristband day Friday and Saturday and the big fireworks show is Saturday as well, so if you still haven’t enjoyed the fair this year, come on down!

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