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Spokane fair done for the year

Mon., Sept. 17, 2007

By this morning, the Ferris wheel and all the other rides will be dismantled. The livestock and the blue ribbons will be out of the exhibit halls.

Small children will not be grabbing fistfuls of wool and holding on to sheep for dear life. Dough will not be dipping into oil and expanding into elephant ears.

Most signs of the Spokane Interstate Fair, which closed Sunday night, will be gone.

Final figures, which are expected to be available sometime today, should show an increase in attendance over last year. Going into the final day, the 2007 fair was on track to easily surpass the 2006 version, when about 218,000 people went through the turnstiles. Through Saturday, this year’s attendance had reached 214,722, and one of the driving factors in attendance – good weather – was still holding true Sunday, spokeswoman Erin Gurtel said.

That meant one more day for folks to watch the International Lumberjacks toss axes, chop logs and try to log roll each other into a large water tank. Alvie Marcellus, of Spokane, said the family-operated show has been performing since 1971, when he and his brother Earl put together an exhibition at the base of Seattle’s Space Needle. Now his daughter Chrissy Ramsey is part of the show, tossing the axe and competing in the logrolling, which was featured three times a day at the Interstate Fair.

There was one more day to cruise the midway and order food that would make a dietician blanch. One more day of being swung around and around, or pushed up and down on carnival rides. For those who prefer a less mechanized ride, there was one more day for youngsters to sign up for Mutton Bustin’, a sheepish version of rodeo bull riding.

Mutton Bustin’ was popular, said Gurtel. So was the decision to separate the tamer children’s rides from the scarier carnival rides.

One other boost to attendance was the entertainment, she said. Kelly Pickler drew about 6,400 to her show, and Weird Al Yankovich drew about 4,500.

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