Cowley County Fair begins despite recent flooding

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WINFIELD, Kan. (KAKE) -

Not long ago, flooding on the fairgrounds in Cowley County put this year's Cowley County Fair in deep trouble. But against the odds, the fair opened on schedule Thursday.

Normally, campers would set up on the west campgrounds with tents and RVs. Those campers had to set up on the south side of the campgrounds this year because a few months ago, much the fairgrounds were covered in water.

Three major floods in the spring caused significant damage to the fairgrounds.

"The water was five feet deep," said Cowley County Fair Vice President, Eric Befort. "This barn to our left, the walls were all ripped out of it. There was asphalt, you can see all this new asphalt around here. The city’s been working overtime. They hauled over a thousand loads of silt out of this area."

(More: Police investigate suspicious device at Winfield Fairgrounds)

Fairgoers say they're thankful to the crews that cleaned up the fairgrounds in time for this weekend.

“The fair board did a great job, and the City of Winfield did a great job to get the fairgrounds as ready as they could," said fairgoer Jacob Sumter. "Glad they could have it.”

The west campground still is not ready for campers, and organizers say they're trying to let grass grow there before the Walnut Valley bluegrass festival in a couple months.

"It's not quite ready for people to play on yet, but it's been cleaned up, and now they're letting nature take its course," said Lance, one of the campers on the south side Thursday.

The rest of the fairgrounds show few signs they were recently underwater. You and your family are invited to check out the midway, animals, and events like the rodeo through the weekend.

"It's a big relief," Befort said. "We did it. Everyone did their job, and we're ready to go. We're gonna have a fair."