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story.lead_photo.caption Calvin Clark, a longtime employee with PBJ Happee Days carnival, packs up a train ride on Sunday as the carnival prepares to head to its next show. Photo by Gerry Tritz / News Tribune.

Several organizations involved in the Jefferson City Jaycees Cole County Fair said the fair was a success, especially after last year's fair was hampered by the COVID-19 pandemic.

"It was a very successful week," said Martha Coward, youth program assistant with Cole County Extension. "We have a lot of exhibitors who were here, and they dealt with the heat and the stress of the weather. We had some very, very hot days, and that can cause stress on the people, on the animals, even on the exhibit building items. Besides that, I think everybody had a great time."

"Making Memories at the Fair," was particularly successful this year, she said. The 4-H/FFA event exposes children to agriculture and shows them how farming affects their lives on a daily basis.

"It's just a big learning opportunity for them, especially if they're not exposed to the agriculture industry as some of us are," she said.

She was at the fairgrounds Sunday helping check out exhibit building projects ranging from paintings to hams to cookies and biscuits.

The carnival operators said they did much better than they expected.

Gallery: Jefferson City Jaycees Cole County Fair 2021

"We had an excellent week," said Pam Casper, co-owner of PBJ Happee Day Shows. "The Jaycees are so easy to work with, and we enjoyed coming in here."

Last year, some carnival operators went out of business due to the pandemic, she said. Her company was planning to celebrate its 50th year in business, but the pandemic put a damper on any celebration.

This year, things have turned around.

"A lot of folks came out and we had a lot of compliments on the show," she said.

The fair also went "extremely well" from a law enforcement perspective, Cole County Sheriff John Wheeler said.

He said his department, including sheriff's posse members, teamed for the weeklong event with area fire protection districts, Cole County EMS, Cole County Emergency Response Team, Cole County Emergency Management, Jefferson City Police Department, Lincoln University Police Department and Missouri Highway Patrol.

He said first responders helped with several health issues, including several from the heat and one from diabetes.

Several youths were arrested for minor in possession of alcohol. But he said there were a lot fewer of the type of incidents the fair saw a decade ago, such as public drunkenness or fighting.

"The Jaycees have really strived to make this a family affair, and they've set down some rules, and they've increasingly had more families attending," Wheeler said.

Among other things, the Jaycees partnered with another organization to use an app to help identify fake IDs, he said.

Fair Chairwoman Alicia Dudenhoeffer could not be reached for comment.

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