CLEWISTON — Attendance was up but livestock numbers were down this year at the Hendry County Fair & Livestock Show, which ran from Feb. 13 through Feb. 18 at the Hendry County Fairgrounds on South Francisco Street in Clewiston.
Yvonne Swindle, president of the Hendry County Fair & Livestock Show Inc. Board of Trustees, said the fair organization team was quite happy with how the 2018 edition proceeded, even though there were fewer animals that made it into the show this year.
“We were very, very pleased for a six-day fair, and the people who came out and supported us, we are very appreciative of them,” she stated, adding that organizers and participants as well were “very thankful for the good weather we had.
“We were up in attendance. We do keep tabs on the attendance, and as far as the sales, it was fantastic,” Mrs. Swindle reported. “We had fewer animals this year than we did last year, and that’s why the sales fluctuated in that part. It was $168,000 in sales, I want to say. Last year, we had way more animals, and our sales were over $200,000.”
One highlight of the 2018 fair was a huge display of Hendry schoolchildren’s artwork.
“In our exhibit hall, we had seven schools and close to 800 students respond to our call to display their artwork. We donated $100 per art class to them,” Mrs. Swindle said.
She noted there were some animals presented for the livestock show that “did not meet the weight that we require for them to enter into the fair,” which is one reason their numbers and sales figures were down. Although none of the steers were turned down, “there were three that weren’t tame enough to come in. We do look at it that way for safety reasons,” she added. And one that had been registered was not brought in for the weigh-in. Also, unfortunately, some of the pigs that had been in the first weigh-in did not live to see the fair, she said.
Highlights of the fair were the PeeWee Show and the Steer Show, plus the Little Miss Hendry County Pageant on Tuesday. The next day, youth showed off the hogs they raised at the annual Hog Show. The Junior Miss Hendry County Pageant took place Thursday, with the annual Livestock Sale & Auction on Friday, Feb. 16. Then Saturday, the Miss Hendry County Pageant was conducted, and on Sunday, the last day of the fair, there was a Black History Month Celebration.
The fair’s second All-Men’s Bake-Off and Cake Auction this year benefited the effort to purchase a new flagpole for the City of Clewiston, in order to safely display the huge, 20- by 30-foot flag that the county fair organization presented to the Clewiston City Commission at its meeting Feb. 5. All hope that by next year, that flag will be flapping off a tall pole somewhere along U.S. 27 to welcome visitors to the 2019 Hendry County Fair.