In the waning hours of the Columbia County Fair, many fair-goers said they preferred this year's event to previous ones.
"It's cleaner and has a broader range of things to do for kids and adults," said Christel Hammond of Evans, who has visited the fair for several years. "There's a little something for everyone."
The 38th annual Columbia County Fair, sponsored by the Merchants Association of Columbia County, wrapped up Saturday after more than a week in town.
This was the first year the Merchants Association hired Drew Exposition to provide rides and games. In the past, the well-known company had provided services for Richmond County's annual fair.
"I like how things are more wide open," said Chris McAlister, an Appling resident and volunteer fireman who brought his family to the fair and also spent some time manning the Appling Fire Department booth.
"Fairs in the past have usually been more for the kids," he said. "Now, there seems to be more of a variety."
Mike Zapata, president of the county's Merchants Association, said organizers heard numerous positive comments about this year's changes.
"We had an excellent fair. We had a very good crowd," said Zapata, who estimated that the group would finish tallying up sales figures by the end of the week. "I think for people in the county, they appreciated us bringing (Drew) in as far as the rides and the thrills shows."
Michael Smith of Martinez, a longtime fair patron, said he like the extra rides.
"The rides are nicer and cleaner than they have been in the past," he said. "I like that. I also like that there are more of them, for kids and adults."
Although she had never been to a fair before, Ashlea Hogan, 11, said she was impressed and plans to come back.
"It's been fun," she said. "I really like the Himalayan ride."
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