The midway of the Richland County Fair sounded like a calliope Friday afternoon as children scurried among rides and older fairgoers were enticed to win the very best prizes for their dates.
It's been one of the best fair weeks that Jim Schaub, president of the fair board, can remember.
"I think we're up in attendance," he said. "We had a good turnout for the rodeo, and a really good turnout for the OSTPA tractor pull."
"The weather is helping."
Temperatures remained in the 70s for most of the week, and were still in the 60s by lunchtime Friday.
"For our fair in August, it's usually 90 degrees," Schaub said.
He and other board members have received a lot of positive feedback throughout the week on upgrades to the fairgrounds, as well as on the petting zoo, pig races and glass blowers.
He hopes everyone can make it out for the final day of the fair on Saturday.
"The demolition derby starts at 5 p.m. Saturday," Schaub said.
Fair fare a lifestyle for Ashland resident
The grounds were filled with summertime culinary delicacies including blooming onions, homemade ice cream and, from a stand operated by Scott Thompson, an assortment of tacos.
Thompson still lives in the Ashland home where he grew up, but is rarely there during fair season.
"I started last Friday and I've been in the trailer 12 hours a day ever since," he said. "I can't stop until Sunday. It's a lot of hard hours and hard work."
He and his best friend, Amber Curry, started the business, Tay's Concessions, in 2019. Owning a food truck had been a dream of hers for a long time. When Thompson found himself between jobs, they realized it was a perfect opportunity to start the business.
"We dove in and grabbed the bull by the horns," Thompson said.
They operated a deep fried stand together the first year. Then they added a soft-serve ice cream trailer. Tacos came the third year.
"Now we have eight trailers," Thompson said. "Well, technically seven because the eighth one isn't finished yet. That will be my winter project."
The duo operate at multiple locations simultaneously throughout the summer. They've enjoyed the Richland County Fair, but they're excited for their home fair in Ashland County.
Starting the concessions business was the best idea they've ever had.
"I love it," Thompson said. "We both do because we get to travel all over Ohio."
Children enjoy carnival rides
The fair is a fleeting experience for some, but a lengthy endeavor for others.
That was quite clear for Erik and Melissa Chapman as they watched their children twirl through the air on a carnival ride Friday afternoon.
"This is the first year the kids brought rabbits for 4-H," Erik said. "That was a new experience."
The couple grew up in Mansfield and each attended the Richland County Fair as children. They never got to show animals, although each had wanted to.
That trend changed for the family this year when Brantlee, 9, and Brylee, 7, raised rabbits for the fair.
"She showed breeding rabbits on Tuesday and he showed market rabbits on Wednesday," Melissa said.
They might be exhausted after a long week at the fair, but they're excited to come back next year.
"It's been a fun experience," Erik said. "For all of us."
This article originally appeared on Mansfield News Journal: Cool weather brings big crowd to Richland County Fair