Preparations underway for 102nd National Cattle Congress - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Preparations underway for 102nd National Cattle Congress


The 102nd National Cattle Congress Fair kicks off in Waterloo in just two days.  Questions have long surrounded the future of the fair and its financial shape.  But organizers say the bank accounts are looking good, and they have reason to believe this year's fair will be the best one yet.

"We've survived and gone through some tough times and some good times, and I'm telling you this year, it's good times!" said Larry Gaffey, National Cattle Congress General Manager.

The carnival rides are in place, a stage being set, and food vendors getting ready in preparation for the 102nd National Cattle Congress Fair in Waterloo.

Last year, the fair made a lot of changes, adding more entertainment, and bringing the fair back to its agricultural roots, all in an effort to boost attendance, and it worked.

"We set a one day attendance record on Friday during the fair last year.  It was like a 20 or 30 year record for single day attendance," Gaffey said.

Vendors like Tom Thumb Mini-Donuts happy to come to the fair.  Its 2011 sales at Cattle Congress rivaled Iowa State Fair sales.  So this year, it's bringing more supplies to meet demand.

"It was really busy last year.  We realize we needed another trailer and more machines to subdue the crowds.  So that's why we brought two trailers," said Adam Beardsley with Tom Thumb Donuts.

Business is likely to be even better this year, since the fair's been extended from four days to five.  Four concerts, moto-cross, and other entertainment are scheduled.  And Cattle Congress will expand the fair's agriculture focus further.

"Last year I think we had about 100 exhibitors in the dairy show.  This year, we're looking at about 300.  We put out around $20,000 in premium payout's for the open dairy show this year and added a scholarship dairy show in the youth division," said Gaffey.

With a little sunshine, it's hoped more fair attendance records can be set in 2012, helping Cattle Congress continue as a community tradition for years to come.

The National Cattle Congress fair begins Wednesday afternoon, with $2 admission for everyone, And festivities continue through Sunday.

Be sure to catch KWWL's live coverage from Cattle Congress starting Wednesday morning during "Today in Iowa".  You can view the fair's full schedule here.


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