THUNDER BAY -- The Canadian Lakehead Exhibition continues to be a major draw for families across the region.
The 124th edition of the venerable city carnival wrapped up Sunday, and the family fair’s main organizer said the event has been quite successful.
Ralph Scharf, chairman of this year’s fair, said beautiful weather throughout the duration of the five-day event led to an average of at least 13,000 attendees per day.
“It’s a little better than the (past couple) of years,” he said Sunday afternoon.
One of the primary reasons for the strong attendance is the fair’s booking for evening entertainment.
For the prime weekend nights organizers brought in country singer Aaron Pritchett, duo Carter and Cash and rock group Platinum Blonde as headliners.
Each night there have been close to 2,000 people gathered around the main stage.
“People are coming to see well-known acts,” Scharf said.
While the acts are new, most of the other elements of the CLE remain familiar to regular fairgoers.
The midway, food court and children’s area remains quite similar to the past few years with the same games, cuisine and exhilarating rides the fair has come to be known for.
Nathan and Tina Mines brought their young son Aiden to his third CLE, as the event has become a summer tradition for their family.
“It’s a great place to come,” Nathan Mines said. “We get to see all the fun rides, see the animals and eat some good food.”
Aiden particularly enjoyed the children’s Ferris wheel, especially when he reached the ride’s apex.
Those who were particularly brave took on thrill rides such as the Zipper, Ring of Fire, G Force or the Sea Ray.
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However, there was one significant change that was quite evident throughout the entire area.
Organizers made the grounds of this year’s fair smoke-free, asking that smokers light up only in three designated areas.
Scharf doesn’t think the change had any negative impact.
“We don’t feel it has had any effect on attendance to any great extent and we had parents congratulate us and other people phone and say they appreciated that,” he said.
The new rules were observed by the majority of people on the grounds and very few voiced any vocal objections.
Tina Mines appreciated the new policy.
“It’s really nice to not have to walk through smoke and it’s nice they have the designated areas for smokers so they don’t have to leave the grounds,” she said.
The CLE closes at 12 a.m.
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