Oct.7-Fair time brings memories
Had lunch with Othel Neely last week. He was the 2nd general manager of the Heart of Texas Fair. A PR man for the fair back them was Boyce House. He came here from the successful Fort Worth Stock Show.
No doubt the stock show is still bigger. I was up there a couple times. They do a super job helping the media. Better than the HOT Fair. They send me forms and ask me what coverage I want and then they follow through on it. The HOT fair doesn’t know us. When the fair first started I used to print a daily schedule. Worked myself sick over trying to help. Back then you had to have a booth nine days. We found a lot of fair visitors were not potential subscribers. They come in from other areas, and a lot of them are kids.
We wondered what he thought about the HOT fair selling out its name to a regional bank. He said they all do that now. He cited American Airlines branding their new all purpose facility in downtown Dallas as an example.
We reminded him about Roy Durie consistently citing HOT fair not building the Red Horse barn big enough. He would come by my office with plans that he says the fair should have used. They had a Roy Durie day at the Ft Worth show every year. And did you know they will not let any motorized unit in their parade. All have to be horse or mule drawn.
And did you know the Waco Longhorn Club had a big part in the getting the fair here started. They had a rodeo arena on LaSalle. My dad was a member as he was in almost every organization. There was a dispute over the name but that was finally worked out.
The HOT Fair now has some plans for remodeling. The plan calls for tearing down the Fine Arts and GE Building and replace it with a bigger one. Neely says you can’t please everybody in fair buildings. He says the Mid Tex farm show was one example. Personally I couldn’t get big RVs inside the coliseum when I had an RV show. The door wasn’t big enough. Downtown the convention center put in a bigger door for me. But to get into the McLennan Room you had to go thru the Chisholm Hall. If it was booked, then too bad.
A serious flaw was they didn’t have a service corridor. Hope they have corrected that in this latest redo.
There seems to be less criticism about the fair hurting local business during Oct. Maybe Waco is growing up and the fair is not as important as it was. Open only one weekend. Other things are going on now. Like Baylor drawing big crowds.
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