PUTNAM COUNTY — Borrowing from 19th Century novelist Charles Dickens to describe this year’s Putnam County Fair provides no challenges. “It was the best of times …”, and there the quote by necessity ends.

By nearly all accounts, and by virtually all measures — weather, attendance, creativity, and just flat out fun — the fair was a phenomenal success.
Though the skies did break loose on opening day — historically, a standard feature of the fair’s first day — it did so early in the morning before the fairgrounds opened to the public. Temperatures averaged in the mid to upper 70s through most of the week, and, overall, there was blue skies and sunshine. Though, yes, on Friday, precipitation offered a bit of a damper, storms veered away in time to permit that evening’s grandstand entertainment: the truck and tractor pulls.
“We had great weather, except for Friday,” Fair Board President Nathan Meyer said.
And the weather played a role in attendance, as did, almost certainly, the return of the fair to its full glory following last year’s abberviated version. While official numbers of visitors have yet to be tabulated, it’s likely attendance reached near record levels when compared to those of the past decade. On Tuesday in particular — Kids’ Day — the fairgrounds were packed. Throughout the day, volunteers at the gate advised the fair office of overflowing parking lots.
“It was one of the better attended fairs in years,” Meyer understated. “Kids’ Day was unbelievable. Saturday, we were a little worried, but everything picked up by evening.”
Though overall a week of joy, one dark spot did blemish the week’s activities.
On Tuesday, a rare harness racing accident sent two riders to the hospital, one with serious injuries.
In the eleventh race of the evening, the horse driven by rider Brendan Johnson drifted slightly sideways when entering the backstretch. The horse, Vallcove, suddenly fell, creating a chain reaction affecting two other riders, their horses, and rigs.
Johnson was transported for medical attention with unspecified injuries. A second driver, Pierce Henry, was treated and released, while the third, Cameron McCown, was examined at the track, and competed in a different race later in the evening.
Miraculously, none of the horses involved in the accident suffered no serious injuries, and were treated on-site.
Still, addressing the success of the fair, Meyer expressed his appreciation to all and sundry.
“I want to thank everybody who came out to support us,” he said, “and we’ll see you next year.”