By ALLEN RAU
While rainy weather drove off crowds for the first two days of the Appalachian Fair in Gray this year, record crowds on the remaining days made up for the dreary start.
“(Attendance) was down about five percent and I think that was due to Monday and Tuesday night and all the rain we had,” Appalachian Fair Manager Phil Booher said.
“We didn’t have many people here and there’s not much you can do about that. But Wednesday through Saturday were record crowds and were great. Great weather. Just tough weather on Monday and Tuesday.”
According to Booher, 185,528 folks attended this year’s fair.
“Our monster trucks and our demolition derby always draw huge crowds and did very well this year. We had two or three new rides on the Midway that did very well.
“They changed things up a little on the Midway and laid things out a bit differently, and I thought it looked great. Of course, they had the new rides, the Matterhorn and the Tornado. I thought they did very well.”
As some attendees come for the rides, some for the derby and some for the 4-H shows, there is always a little something for everyone. Booher said that future fairs would try to appeal to those who always attend for the same reason as well as those who want to experience new rides and events.
“We’ll try to continue doing everything that we do, but I’ve got some ideas for next year. But I don’t want to really disclose them now because I’m not sure if we can get them booked or not but we’ve got some educational things that we’re looking to try and bring in.
“They’re two very good things if we can get them booked and brought in here.”
Some of the most popular events are the competitions held each year. Winners for the 2018 Appalachian Fair were:
Fairest of the Fair Winner: Ali Kosinski
First runner up: Emily Helton
Second runner up: Ava Burke
Third runner up: Desiray Bacon
Fourth runner up: DeAnna Greer
Miss Congeniality: Devin Riddle
The Kaitlyn Matheson Award: Tatum Gouge
Little Miss Contest
Teen Miss (13 years old): Lexus Seymore – Rick & Sherrie Seymore, Bristol, TN
Pre-teen Miss (12 years old): Kaylie Burns – Justin & Jessica Burns, Greenville, TN
Little Miss (8 years old): Elaina Philbeck – Cam & Nancy Philbeck, Greeneville, TN
Tiny Miss (4 years old): Kilynn Barger – Jonathan & Chantai Barger, Kingsport, TN
Wee Miss (3 years old): Ayla Taylor – Amy & Hart Tyson, Brentwood, TN
Appalachian Fair’s Got Talent – Division I (ages 6-17)
1st place – Laney Falin
2nd place – Rylee Peters
3rd place – Eden Rowland
Appalachian Fair’s Got Talent – Division II (ages 18+)
1st place – Hunter Patterson
2nd place – Sabrina Hess
3rd place – Kandice Moser