Midway opening Tuesday instead of Monday at county fair

Monday's first full day of traffic at the Kosciusko County fairgrounds saw light traffic Monday. News Now Warsaw photo by Dan Spalding.

By Dan Spalding
News Now Warsaw

WARSAW — Kosciusko County Community Fair saw light traffic Monday night in Warsaw.

Several vendors pointed to the lack of midway entertainment as the reason as the annual fair opened for the first full day of the weeklong run.

Normally, the midway is up and running on the Monday of the fair, but that changed this year when the operator of the rides chose not to have the rides open Monday.

“You know everybody has labor issues these days,”  said Blake Huston, vice president of Mid America Shows who explained the reason during an interview on Willie 103.5 Monday afternoon.

He also pointed out that all his employees are now paid hourly.

“We look at the numbers and we’re in it to make ourselves money, to make the fair money and provide a good service for the community of Warsaw and Kosciusko County and that’s what it boiled down to,” Huston said.

Opinions about the impact varied among the food vendors. Some vendors had little sales.

But Jason Rich, with the Beaver Dam 4-H Club, said they saw slow but steady sales as the day continued. He took it in stride.

“This is easily the least-busy Monday we’ve ever had, but it’s been steady,” Rich said. “Our workers aren’t bored and the kids aren’t.”

The Midway will be up and running today beginning at 2 p.m.

The operator has also updated the ticket system, changing to a digital option that relies on kiosks.

“We changed to all electronic ticketing now. There’s no more paper tickets,” Huston said.

The machines accept cash or credit cards and credits can carry over to next year, Huston said.

“You decide how many tickets you want. It’s all printed out on a card. There is a $2 fee for the card, but it’s reusable. You can bring it back next year, the year after,” he said.

The fairgrounds also experienced more electrical issues Monday night but nothing as bad as Sunday night when a transformer exploded and caused a brief fire that cut off power to parts of the fairgrounds for several hours shortly after the fair opened Sunday.

Details on exactly what the problem has been were not available Monday night.

The next challenge for the fair arrives today in the form of rain.

Meteorologist Matt Rudkin predicts a 100 percent chance of rain will arrive this afternoon and continue for about 24 hours.

Rudkin predicts upward of 2-3 inches of rain is expected as the remnants of tropical storm Beryl passes through the Midwest. He predicts heavier rain totals to the north and west parts of northern Indiana.

On the bright side, pleasant dry conditions return Thursday and will continue through the rest of the week.

Much of the Midway was closed off Monday as workers continued to prepare for Tuesday’s opening. News Now Warsaw photo by Dan Spalding.