County fair possibly largest ever

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Early attendance estimates from last week&8217;s Shelby County Fair could make this year&8217;s event the largest ever, fair officials said.

John Jones, a member of the Columbiana Kiwanis club and volunteer organizer of the fair said he believes between 15,000-16,000 people passed through the fair gates this year.

&8220;I&8217;m sure it&8217;s the biggest we&8217;ve ever had,&8221; Jones said. &8220;It was a very good fair all around.&8221;

Jones noted a number of improvements to the fairgrounds and layout of this year&8217;s event that he felt helped increased attendance numbers.

&8220;The weather didn&8217;t bother us too much this year,&8221; he said. &8220;There was a little rain on Monday, but that was it.&8221;

The 2006 fair marked its return to Columbiana after being moved to Veteran&8217;s Park in Alabaster last year to make room for Hurricane Katrina evacuees at the John E. Jones Exhibition Center.

Jones said the improvements that were made to the facility in 2005 helped this year&8217;s event run more smoothly.

&8220;They&8217;ve really made some great improvements to the building,&8221; he said. &8220;It&8217;s great to be back in Columbiana.&8221;

The Shelby County Fair is the only one Jones knows of in Alabama that still only charges one fee for admission, parking, entertainment and rides. He said he hopes the affordability and family friendly atmosphere of the event brings people back for years to come.

&8220;This is a great event for our community,&8221; he said