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Fair Rides Draw Crowd But Officials Expect Low Total Attendance

The Monroe County fair is in full swing this week—literally. Fair-goers packed the grounds Monday for the new midway’s opening night waiting in lines to ride the Ferris wheel, Tilt-a-Whirl, and a number of other rides likely to make one’s stomach lurch, but this year fair attendance over-all is expected to be low.

Christine Kuhl has been coming to the fair every year since she moved to Bloomington with her now-7-year-old twins about five years ago and every year she comes for one thing.

"The rides," Kuhl said. "The rides first and then the food and then the races, but they love the rides."

Kuhl and her family aren’t alone. In fact, fair board spokesman David Smith said Monday’s attendance numbers jumped dramatically over the days before when rides were not open.

"There was a large crowd last night. In fact I was told they were backed up all the way beyond Wal-Mart on 45 trying to get in," Smith said.

But despite the good showing, Smith said he expects the ongoing recession to have a negative effect on the week’s total turn out.

"We're tying to go the same as always, but I'm sure we're going to find the attendance and everything in general is going to be down. No doubt in my mind," Smith said. "People just don't have the money like they used to have. That's for sure."

Fair festivities continue through Saturday.

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