Fair has successful run at new location

Published 3:11 am Friday, June 23, 2023



The Boyle County Fair concluded on Saturday after a week of fun events, games, rides, pageants and shows. Most activities happened at the fair’s new location on Smoky Way right off the Danville bypass. The fair made the move after the City of Danville bought the old fairgrounds and built new tennis courts on the property. Fair President Ryan Owens said this year was an overall success and there were no major problems reported. He said some positive feedback he received is that people liked that rides, and activities were closer together, so they didn’t have to walk as far as in years past.

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“One of the things we were wanting to do was kind of condense everything so the footprint for walking was a lot less than what we had at the old fairgrounds,” Owens said. “People really seemed to enjoy that they didn’t have to walk a country mile to get to the midway, to the food vendors, to the motor sports events.”

Owens said he’s received mostly positive feedback, and that people liked the location.

“Everybody seems to be tickled with the location, everybody was tickled with the small footprint, and we really haven’t heard anything negative other than that we need more seating at the motor sports, which we knew that going in,” Owens said.

Fair workers had to build a new motor sports track, which looked smaller than at the old fairgrounds. Crowds packed the bleachers for the Young & Wreckless Demolition Derby, leaving many to stand on the outskirts or sit on the ground.

The Smoky Way spot was just a grass field where a local farmer grew hay, up until about four weeks before the fair. Owens said their biggest challenge was starting from scratch at this location in such a short time, figuring out where to put things and building the motor sports track.

“It was a lot of hard work between a lot of different entities and volunteers that made that happen,” Owens said.

He said they could’ve had better positioning for some things, like the midway gate, and that gas lines affected the positioning of some attractions. They might tweak little things like that for next year. Another challenge at the new location was managing vehicle traffic.

The Smoky Way location had only one entrance point and one exit point. Police decided that cars should not make left turns into the entrance due to safety concerns, so cars going west had to make u-turns on the bypass.

The situation created long lines on the bypass, some cars waiting a half hour or more to get in. Owens said Friday was their busiest day, and at one point cars were backed up almost to Perryville Road.

However, Owens said traffic kept moving at a steady pace and there was a constant flow of cars going into the parking lot. The parking lot had plenty of space.

The old fairground had two places people could park and enter from. If the fair board decides to buy the Smoky Way property, Owens said they can look at making another entry point and figuring out better traffic routes.

He said the fair board will soon be deciding whether or not to purchase the Smoky Way property. If they buy it, Owens said they might be able to make another roadway into the property.

Owens wanted to thank everyone involved in making the fair happen, the volunteers, city and county workers, business people and sponsors, and everyone attending.