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Just Saying… by Doris Elmore

Members of the Moultrie-Douglas Fair Board who were available for the picture. Left to right: Duane Gingerich, Michelle Strader, McKenna Green, Stephanie Wierman, Monica Green, Warren Zeiders, country music entertainer, Stephanie Alexander, president of fair board, Doris Elmore, Roy Elmore, Amy Malin and Shelly Brough.

Do you feel like summer just began? Well, it did begin only 28 days ago and will end September 23. So, we still have several days of summer left. However, with this haze/smoke from Canada I feel like it is making the atmosphere feel spooky. You might think I am crazy, but it is weird. You don’t see as many people walking around as normal; people are trying to be safe by staying in. It is okay to go out, but to be out for long periods of time is not good for your health. This is especially true if you have a health issue, like COPD, allergies, etc. Let’s hope this smoke goes away soon for Illinois and other affected states and the fires are extinguished.

I want to congratulate the Village of Hammond as they celebrate their Sesquicentennial Celebration this weekend. I think it is great to see the many events they have planned for the three days. I would also like to congratulate Kent Brown on being honored as the Grand Marshal for the parade. Kent went from a small school and community and made a great career for himself. But he never let it go to his head, he never forgot his friends back home. Not that he moved a long way away, but he moved in bigger circles helping the University of Illinois. Be sure and give him a wave as the parade goes by.

It has been great seeing four towns in close proximity celebrate 150 years of community happenings. Atwood started the ball rolling with a kick-off celebration on June 11; Lovington was next later in June, now Hammond is celebrating in July. Atwood will be next August 18 & 19 with the Apple Dumpling Festival with Sesquicentennial Festivities continuing and Arthur will celebrate 150 years over Labor Day. All of the towns have put in many volunteer hours to make their celebrations great. Good job everyone!

I have had several people ask me how the Moultrie-Douglas Fair went this year. Well, we haven’t had a meeting since the fair and it takes time to get all the financial work completed, but if I had to guess, I would say it went well. We had complaints about the carnival. Let me explain the situation. To begin, Boden Amusements, our carnival for the past several years, decided to not come to our fair this year and take on a fair closer to them. They were up north and it was a long drive. While our board was disappointed, we understood their situation. It isn’t an easy job to move from one fair to another, but that is their chosen profession. After MULTIPLE phone calls, texts and emails, we were worried we would not have a carnival, and that would be disappointing to everyone. We discussed having inflatables, but that didn’t seem to be an option for a fair. We finally had Conner Amusements reach out to us that they would come. They did bring their “B” carnival, but that was better than nothing. No one was more disappointed than the fair board in not having a lot of big rides. We are hoping for a bigger carnival next year.

The queen pageants went great in spite of having to move them into the gymnasium and having a storm, but we made it through with a great crowd. All the contestants in all ages did a wonderful job. I was glad I wasn’t a judge.

The Mid-Way Stage entertainment was great and the fair food was great, even though there were not as many concession stands.

The ITPA tractor pull was a major success. There was a big crowd and the pullers did great. The 2-wheel drive trucks actually shake the ground as they move down the track.

Warren Zeiders brought a large crowd. We were on the gate checking wrist bands and I thought I might be doing it in my sleep. We also had to make sure no beer was taken away from the grandstand/beer tent areas. We had assistance from the Douglas County Sheriff’s office when it was over because they leave in droves. One guy had two unopened beers in each pocket trying to take them with him because he hadn’t had time to drink them. One of the deputies noticed it and stopped him. He finally took one beer out of his pocket and threw it in the trash receptacle. The officer asked him about the other pocket. Out came another beer. The look on his face was priceless. He tried hard to take them with him. He wasn’t nasty, just did his best to sneak them out. I had to stop a gal who was walking out drinking a beer. She just wasn’t thinking about it, but was very nice. She apologized and threw the rest of it away.

It is so much fun to see what people will do trying to get away with most anything. But really, everyone was nice, polite and enjoyed the concert. We estimated about 2,000 for the concert.

After the concert, the fair board and some other fans had the opportunity to meet Warren and have our picture taken with him. This picture is posted by this column. It was a fun evening. We have a good fair board to work with. So, while there were good times, there were disappointing things that happen as well. We will keep working to bring the best fair ever. I just ask that before you start putting complaints on facebook, ask one of the board members why things aren’t the way you think they should be, we will be glad to answer any questions.

Have a good week and enjoy the Hammond festivities this weekend. Sounds like a great line up. Don’t forget to share a smile, it might just make someone’s day.

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