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New shopping center proposed at long-vacant Springfield site

Champaign County Fair sees high attendance

The Champaign County Fair appears to have brought in record crowds as the fair wound down Friday after a week of livestock competitions, concerts and other activities.

Final attendance numbers weren’t available Friday afternoon, but so far the fair had brought in about $20,000 more in revenue than last year, which was also a record, said Melvin Cook, president of the Champaign County Fair Board.

“Last year was a record and it looks like this year kicked its butt,” Cook said.

The fair brought in about $270,000 in revenue in 2012, Cook said, and about $306,000 last year.

It’s not clear what led to the boost in revenue, but Cook said the weather was perfect throughout the fair, and a concert Monday featuring country artists Dustin Lynch and Sammy Kershaw was a big draw this year.

“We were down a little bit Saturday, Sunday and Tuesday, but every other day we were up real big,” Cook said.

One of the highlights Friday was the market steer auction, where Jonathan Wolfe, a junior from West Liberty-Salem High School, sold his winning animal after his first year of competing. A group of local companies combined and bid $3,000 for the winning steer during one of the fair’s first events Friday morning.

Wolfe said he’s not sure how he’ll use the money yet, although he said he plans to compete in the event next year as well. His interest in agriculture began when he started raising rabbits, Wolfe said, and then moved on to dairy feeders.

Raising a steer was different, he said, because it involves more work with the animal to get it to grow to the proper size and weight. He said he likely wouldn’t have been able to win the competition without help from Luke, his 13-year-old brother who helped him raise the steer.

“The hard work paid off because we both did well at the fair this year,” Wolfe said.

Luke’s steer was named the reserve champion this year.

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