Back in the Saddle: Linn County Fair back after 2013 floods - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Back in the Saddle: Linn County Fair back after 2013 floods

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The theme of this year's Linn County Fair is "Back in the Saddle" -- perfectly describing the differences between last year, where much of the fair was canceled, and this year, where the carnival and rides are up and going again.

Last year's flooding took a big hit on the fair's budget, and organizers are hoping to make up for it this year.

Excitement is in the air and on the faces of many, who missed all the rides and games at the Linn County Fair last year.

"We're taking the day off so we can go ahead and spend quality time with the kids and enjoy the fair," said Chelsea Stumpff, who lives in Cedar Rapids. 

"It's a great time because our kids are about the same age, and we were so bummed that we couldn't make it out last year," said Melissa Merrifield, who lives in Cedar Rapids.

When flooding hit the fairgrounds, organizers decided to just hold the 4-H and Future Farmers of America events, dropping the carnival and concerts.

Those events bring in big crowds who spend big money. Canceling them forced the fair to dip into savings.

"We are hoping for a big turnout for all of our events for all of our days to get us kind of get us back that jump start that we need again," said Heidi Steffen, Linn County Fair Marketing Manager.

Fair vendors took a hit too, with one vendor reporting getting stuck with $1,000 worth of inventory.

"It's a huge loss, especially when we work on commission," said Jacqui Schlotterbeck.

So this year, everyone's hoping the weather cooperates. While the fair has rain insurance, it still needs to see crowds at the larger events, like the concerts.

"If we don't get those grandstand attendees, then we could take a hard hit," said Steffen.

Fair organizers say if they don't see the attendance they're hoping for this year, it means they're going to have to push back projects like upkeep of the grounds and buildings. The more they push off those repairs, the more expensive they become.

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