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‘Tradition’ returns to club’s midway

Brookhaven Exchange Club members and volunteers are busilypreparing for the opening of the club’s annual fair Saturday.

Many of the rides and booths were set up Thursday night andworkers will again be at the park tonight completing projects forthe 53rd annual Brookhaven Exchange Club Fair.

“It’s a Brookhaven hometown tradition. It’s always been the lastweek before school starts,” said Bill Haag, club treasurer. “Somepeople see people they haven’t seen all summer, or even in a yearor more.”

The fair begins Saturday at 6 p.m. Following a day off Sunday,the fair resumes Monday and runs through Saturday, Aug. 5.

Fair hours are 6 to 10 p.m., but are slightly flexible dependingon when members and volunteers can leave work to open the rides andbooths to start the fair. Closing hours are heavily influenced bythe crowd, Haag said.

“We don’t have an official start or end time. We try to close uparound 10 p.m.,” he said.

The fair typically draws a crowd of more than 10,000 people, buta lot depends on the weather, Haag said.

“We’ll have all the same rides and attractions we usually have,”he said. “And we also have a Tilt-a-Whirl that’s not really new,but it’s new to us. It’s a lot safer.”

Haag said the 4-H Youth will host a livestock exhibit in arepeat of last year’s well-received event. The livestock exhibitwill be held Wednesday through Friday.

Fair mainstay Charles “Ploochie” Ratliff, a founding member ofthe club, will again be running its ever-popular bingo games. Forthe last 35 years, Ratliff and his wife, Virginia, have hosted thegames.

Law enforcement authorities will patrol the fair and paramedicswill be on standby to provide assistance if needed.