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One fabulous fair

Popular new attractions and seven days of picture perfect weather came together last week to make the Dakota County Fair's 150th anniversary celebration a success.

Fair manager Bill Minnehan estimates this year's event drew somewhere in the neighborhood of 1,000 visitors for every year since the first fair was held.

"It should be close to 150,000," Minnehan said. "Somewhere between 140,000 and 150,000. We know it was up from last year, but we haven't gone through all the figuring."

Three new attractions all proved to be popular additions this year. Native American dancer Larry Yazzie, a world champion fancy dancer, performed three times a day, every day of the fair and Minnehan said he drew a big crowd every time. A lumberjack show also was a hit among fairgoers.

Local organization Wolves, Woods and Wildlife came to the fair with a petting zoo featuring animals native to Minnesota.

"I tried to go through there two or three times the first couple days and I couldn't get in there," Minnehan said.

An Aug. 4 high school rodeo didn't draw a huge crowd, but Minnehan said at least one part of the show was a hit. Minnehan said the rodeo drew more than 100 kids for a mutton bustin' event in which children tried to stay on the backs of sheep sent charging through the arena.

Most of the bands that performed during the fair drew good crowds. Minnehan said he heard people say they were surprised by how much they liked the group Boogie Wonderland and the Aug. 7 show by the Killer Hayseeds was popular. But the biggest shows by far were Friday's performance by the Johnny Holmes band and Saturday's show by G.B. Leighton.

"They were amazing," Minnehan said. "I think G.B. Leighton brought more people, but (for) Johnny Holmes, they drank more beer."