Friday, December 15, 2017
News Roundup

Attendance slips a bit at 2012 Hernando County Fair

BROOKSVILLE — Staffers at the Hernando County Fair and Youth Livestock Show, which ended its nine-day run Saturday, still are crunching numbers, but say attendance was "down a little bit" this year.

"We had great weekends," said manager Sandra Nicholson. "During the weekdays, it was down."

She estimated 24,000 visitors, compared to about 25,000 last year, attributing the shortfall to the economy, the price of gasoline and kids in school.

"We wish we could have (the fair) on spring break, but spring break is all over the place," Nicholson said.

The dates are determined by the availability of the midway concessionaire, which comes to Hernando County after the Miami-Dade County Fair.

Attendance at the fair's junior market livestock sale was good, Nicholson said, and "prices were up a little bit."

Official prices from the 2011 sale were not available for comparison. This year's prices included: $2.16 a pound average for 40 steers, with $3.25 a pound for the grand champion and $2.80 a pound for the reserve grand champion; $2.70 a pound average for 48 market hogs, with $3.10 a pound for the champ and $3.25 for the reserve; $269 average for the top three pens-of-three meat rabbits, $250 for the champion pen and $150 for the reserve pen, and $213 average for the top three pens-of-three meat chickens, $150 for champion pen and $200 for the reserve pen.

Generally, comments from fair visitors and vendors were positive, Nicholson said, though she conceded, "There are always people who have issues." Yet, she remembered a fairgoer telling her that the Hernando fair was a "diamond that was unnoticed."

As usual, the demolition derby was the fair's biggest draw, Nicholson said.

"The parking lot was full, and I heard the grandstand was packed," she said.

The operator of Nojoe's Clown Circus told Nicholson that visitors to his venue had come to the fair from Jacksonville, St. Augustine, Sarasota and Winter Haven, particularly for the circus.

As for food vendors, "some of them were ecstatic, and some of them weren't happy," Nicholson said. "My experience is (the latter) didn't have good product."

A new feature — camel rides — did not attract as many people as the owner had anticipated, just as last year the hook-a-fish pond suffered.

"We try to have something different each year," Nicholson said.

Staffers at some of the indoor commercial booths mentioned sparse traffic, and Nicholson said the fair hopes to address those concerns with new and more inviting building facades next year and other activities in the buildings, such as home and farm demonstrations.

Praise came this year for booths in the auditorium, the addition of a shady porch with rocking chairs at the livestock arena building, expanded food service in the barn's Chuck Wagon restaurant and broader tanbark walkways to and through livestock tents.

The fair's board of directors will meet soon to prioritize improvement projects for next year, which Nicholson said could include rental booths inside the arena building, new flooring and modernizing in the auditorium and better signage.

Planning for the 2013 fair, scheduled from April 12 to 20, already is under way.

"Oh, yes," Nicholson said. "I have some contracts signed already."

Beth Gray can be contacted at [email protected]

Comments

High school scoreboard for Dec. 15

Friday’s scoreboardGirls soccerCountryside 7, Clearwater 0Osceola 9, Bradenton Bayshore 0Palm Harbor U. 2, Plant 1Boys soccerPalm Harbor U. 0, Plant 0Lennard 4, Armwood 1
Updated: 1 hour ago

Lottery resultsNumbers drawn after 9 p.m. are no longer available by our deadlines. For results, go to tampabay.com/lottery.Pick 2, 3, 4, 5Fri., Dec. 15, midday:01 563 0000e_SRit95765Fri., Dec. 15, evening:12 287 1492e_SRit04851Fantasy 5Fri., Dec. 15...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Gators play Nebraska, still seeking elusive volleyball title

Gators play Nebraska, still seeking elusive volleyball title

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — There is very little these days that can dampen the mood of Florida volleyball coach Mary Wise, whose Gators knocked off reigning national champion Stanford in Thursday’s NCAA semifinals and face Nebraska tonight for the title. Not...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Pinellas sheriff’s investigator fired, could face criminal charges for involvement in child custody battle

Pinellas sheriff’s investigator fired, could face criminal charges for involvement in child custody battle

LARGO — A Pinellas sheriff’s child protective investigator has been fired and could face criminal charges after an investigation found she made a child custody recommendation to a judge as a favor to a friend.Jayne Johnson, who has worked for the She...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Festivus 2017: Send us your best grievances

Festivus 2017: Send us your best grievances

Here's your chance. Tell us what annoyed you in 2017, and we'll share it with our readers.
Updated: 3 hours ago
Experts chart path for Hillsborough to grow smarter before sprawl takes over

Experts chart path for Hillsborough to grow smarter before sprawl takes over

TAMPA — Nearly 600,000 more people will live in Hillsborough County by 2040, and if elected officials and county planners don’t take bold steps now, the population boom will turn the county into the soulless sprawl of Anywhere, U.S.A.That’s the messa...
Updated: 4 hours ago

Highlights of GOP compromise bill to overhaul tax code

WASHINGTON — Republicans in Congress have blended separate tax bills passed by the House and Senate into compromise legislation that seeks to achieve a sweeping overhaul of the nation’s tax code. GOP leaders are looking toward passage of the final pa...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Tillerson retreats on offer of unconditional N. Korea talks

Tillerson retreats on offer of unconditional N. Korea talks

WASHINGTON — America’s top diplomat stepped back Friday from his offer of unconditional talks with North Korea, telling world powers that the nuclear-armed nation must earn the right to negotiate with the United States. Secretary of State Rex Tillers...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Judge signals release of ex-Trump chair Paul Manafort to Florida home under curfew and GPS monitoring

Judge signals release of ex-Trump chair Paul Manafort to Florida home under curfew and GPS monitoring

A federal judge Friday said a bail package has been put together that would release former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort from home confinement in his condominium in Virginia and allow him to reside at his house in Palm Beach Gardens, but unde...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Deputies: Plant City men fled in stolen car, shot dog, hid in swamp

Deputies: Plant City men fled in stolen car, shot dog, hid in swamp

DOVER — Two Plant City men who ran from deputies and shot a dog were captured after a brief pursuit Thursday, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.They ditched a stolen car, ran away on foot, crossed through several yards and then tr...
Updated: 5 hours ago