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'I couldn’t wait for this day to come’

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Andy Atkinson / Mail TribuneFair-goers ride the 'Super Shot' on Wednesday during opening day at the Jackson County Fair at the Expo in Central Point.
Andy Atkinson / Mail TribuneFair-goers ride the 'Freak Out' on Wednesday during opening day of the Jackson County Fair at the Expo in Central Point.
Andy Atkinson / Mail TribuneFair-goers exit a ride Wednesday while others wait in line during opening day at the Jackson County Fair at the Expo in Central Point.
Andy Atkinson / Mail TribuneFair-goers wait in line for tickets Wednesday during opening day at the Jackson County Fair at the Expo in Central Point.
Andy Atkinson / Mail TribuneFair-goers enjoy a ride Wednesday during opening day at the Jackson County Fair at the Expo in Central Point.
Andy Atkinson / Mail TribuneFair goers on a ride during opening day at the Jackson County Fair at the Expo in Central Point Wednesday.
Andy Atkinson / Mail TribuneFair-goers ride the 'Freak Out' on Wednesday during opening day at the Jackson County Fair at the Expo in Central Point.
Heat doesn’t slow attendance as Jackson County Fair opens

Despite the temperature being in the mid-90s, people flocked to Wednesday's opening of the Jackson County Fair at The Expo.

This year's slogan, “bringing back the fun in ‘21,” encapsulated how many of the attendants felt. Tracey Mullineaun said that it’s exciting to be around so many people again.

“It feels amazing,” Mullineaun said. “I couldn't wait for this day to come.”

Mullineaun was not the only one who was excited.

Expo Director Helen Funk said that nearly 3,000 ride bracelets were pre-sold, compared to the more than 900 in 2019, the last year The Expo hosted a full fair.

“People are ready to come back and have a good time,” Funk said.

Fair-goer Luke Wales said that the hot day didn’t put a damper on his excitement.

“With stuff starting to slowly reopen it really does feel nice,” he said. “It's good to see all the smiles, happy faces out here, people enjoying the time. It's kind of hot today, but I think people will still get the most out of it and are excited to be here.”

Wales hid in the shade created by the Mardi Gras House carnival ride. Many others had the same idea, Harrison Smith said it was every parent's favorite ride because of the cool place to stand.

Wednesday is the Wales family's last day in Medford and he was glad their visit overlapped with the fair.

“It's nice because it's got a little bit of everything for the family,” he said. “My son's a little older, so he goes on some of the bigger rides and then his sister gets to go and some of the smaller ones.”

Some people were ready to participate in the fun but wanted to play it safe with the pandemic still going on. Carley Pederson said she and her two daughters wore masks to be polite in crowds while her daughters were still too young to receive a vaccine.

In spite of the addition of the Freak Out ride — a pendulum that swings back and forth all while spinning in circles — not everyone was happy with this year's ride selection. Shawna Mowery was disappointed that the Ring of Fire ride wasn’t back.

The fair will continue until Sunday. It will be open from 2 to 11 p.m. Thursday, 11 a.m. to midnight Friday and Saturday and 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday. Matt Stell, The Marshall Tucker Band and Colt Ford will be performing Thursday, Friday and Saturday, respectively.

Admission tickets can be purchased at the Expo and at attheexpo.com. Parking is free and concerts are also free with fair admissions tickets.