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Hoping to see fair weather

No stampedes of eager children rushed the front gate at the Exchange Club Park fairgrounds Thursday, but organizers anticipated the crowds would pack the midway by the end of the night.

After all, it’s the annual Exchange Club Fair.

“It’s kind of a Brookhaven hometown kind of thing,” said Shannon Aker. “We used to bring the girls and now we’re bringing our grandkids.”

Aker’s grandsons Asher McCaffrey, 6, and Archie McCaffrey, 2, were some of the first youngsters to ride the newly refurbished and painted kiddie cars.

They were joined on the sleek ride by 4-year-old Caroline Combs and her brother, Cooper Combs, 7.

This was their first time to visit the Brookhaven fair.

“We wanted them to be able to enjoy all the rides,” said their dad, Garrick Combs.

Combs, the executive director of the Brookhaven-Lincoln County Chamber of Commerce, said he was happy to see a good crowd there.

“I couldn’t be more proud of the Exchange Club for all the work they’ve put in,” he said.

The fair will be open today and Saturday. Then again Aug. 3-5.

Gates open at 6 p.m. and rides will run until 10 p.m.

Fair chairman Steve Smith is hoping for good weather.

Rain is in the forecast for Saturday afternoon.

“If it comes a shower, we’ll shut down a little while, but if it completely washes us out, we’ll pick up Wednesday night,” he said.

The traditional fireworks display lights up the sky on the final night soon after the last ride closes, he said.

Parking and admission is free, but there is a charge for food, games and rides. A $10 bracelet can be purchased each night for unlimited rides.

The fair is the Exchange Club’s biggest fundraiser and allows them to provide scholarships and donations to worthwhile charities.

Last year, the club turned over the food booths and games to other organizations who run the booths and keep the money they raise. That frees up Exchange Club members to be able to operate the rides.