Maybe it was the large number of competitors in the demolition derby who were local this year.
Or maybe people were itching to get out and finally enjoy some warm weather.
Whatever the cause, the 153rd Drayton Fair set records for attendance on Friday night, when the derby packed the grandstands and bleachers, and the crowds kept food booths and midway operators busy into the night.
“Friday night was excellent – probably better than we anticipated,” fair board director Bruce Bawden said in an interview on Sunday afternoon.
Unfortunately, the same could not be said for Saturday, when rain wiped out the large tractor pull.
Bawden did note, however, the mini-tractor pull did get off as scheduled. On Sunday Bawden again expected good crowds, as the skies cleared early in the day and sunshine, along with reports predicting warm weather, drew people to the fairgrounds.
Still, it was the opening day of the fair that pleased Bawden.
“We set records pretty well with everything on Friday night,” he concluded.
Mapleton Mayor John Green had been out of town on Saturday, and reported rainy weather seemed to be the norm all over southern Ontario.
But he was pleased with the Sunday weather and crowd.
“It poured early,” Green noted. But, after that, the weather got good. He said of the horse and cattle show, “I’ve never seen it so full.”
There were plenty of exhibits to see in the main hall, too.
Beth Finn, of Palmerston, no stranger to Drayton, had 63 entries in the crafts area. Her mother, Drayton native Theresa Cassell, now lives in Elmira but dropped in to the fair to admire the work.
To make it a three-generation event, Cassell’s granddaughter was busy showing off her school entries to the rest of the family.