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Published: Thursday, 8/15/2002

Cloudy skies, a little rain no pain at opening of Pemberville Fair

BY CARL RYAN
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Gary Wend, 7, left, and his brother Grant, 4, are all smiles as they whirl around in circles on the Trooper, one of the carnival rides at the Pemberville Fair. Gary Wend, 7, left, and his brother Grant, 4, are all smiles as they whirl around in circles on the Trooper, one of the carnival rides at the Pemberville Fair.
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PEMBERVILLE, Ohio - Yesterday's opening of the Pemberville Fair

“In our 26 years, this is the first time it's rained on our parade,” Ms. Adams explained, indicating the cloudy skies that opened up a mere 30 minutes after the fair's 6 p.m. start. “Not that it bothered anything.”

Indeed not. The rain soon abated and the Kiddie Parade went off as scheduled.

Village police Chief Dan O'Connor led the way past the American Legion hall in his blue patrol car, followed by two Wood County sheriff's deputies on motorcycles and the Eastwood Eagle Marching Band playing the theme from The Bridge on the River Kwai.

Then came the “floats,” pulled by riding lawnmowers and all-terrain vehicles, containing the stars of the parade - the children.

Dawn Hiser's parade entry contained six youngsters dressed as police officers, firefighters, and nurses, and a play police car (blue, like Chief O'Connor's) and fire truck.

“My inspiration was 9/11,” Ms. Hiser, explained. “Here we are, almost a year later, and I thought I could salute the police, fire, and emergency workers in New York and in Pemberville.”

She said the float was assembled pretty quickly, on Tuesday - “but I had been thinking about it for a long time.”

A short distance away, in Memorial Park, was an abundance of classic fair fare: sno' cones, curly fries, elephant ears, onion rings, and caramel apples. Next to the food stands were another mainstay: the game booths, with their shills offering enticements of easy prizes and a fun time.

The idea of John Watson's dart game was to pop balloons and win pictures of Britney Spears or Spiderman, for instance. Dart throws were $2 apiece or three for $5.

The value of the pictures, which even the most inept dart throwers could win? Mr. Watson said he didn't know.

“I always let kids win,” he said. “They're my main customer.”

Ms. Adams fretted that the rain might have kept fair visitors away. She had no numbers, but said last year's opening seemed more crowded.

Edie Jones said she drove to Pemberville from southern Wood County on opening day because she was going out of town today. “We come every year and didn't want to break our streak. We're country people and feel right at home.”

The fair runs through Saturday.



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