Great Jones County Fair Found a Way
The thousands upon thousands who attended the Saturday night show in Monticello should be very thankful the show happened at all. It could just have easily been canceled.
The KHAK crew rolled into the city right around 4:30 p.m. A strong storm was about to hit so we strategically parked next to a large brick building, opposite the storm. That's when my phone announced a Tornado Warning and to take cover. The fun was about to begin.
After the rain fell, LOTS OF RAIN, the work would have to start. However, before that, a decision had to be made. The decision doesn't come easy. I waded through water that was easily a foot-and-a-half deep on the track to get backstage. There I stood by as a member of the fair's concert personnel talked with Florida Georgia Line's tour manager about the accommodations they could and would make to see that the show could happen. The next step was a meeting among the top parties involved with the concert. Just prior to the meeting, one of them said to me, "What would you do?" That's just how up in the air things were for a time. These decisions aren't easy and there's a lot to consider.
The factors are many and include artists schedules and if a later ending is feasible, and most importantly, is everyone safe. I can't help but believe Mother Nature realized she couldn't defeat Jones County when the radar to the west that looked so bad, almost instantly seemed to clear. It was stunning and just what the Great Jones County Fair needed.
There would have to be a lengthy delay, to pump water from the track, but it was so much better than the alternative. When the rains stopped, almost immediately, the fans started flooding into the fairgrounds. Perhaps a bad choice of words, but they were pouring in by the thousands. Oops, I did it again.
Just before 8 p.m., the show already delayed one hour, I spoke to Fair Manager John Harms who said the plan was to open the gates at 8:30 and that they were going to have to start the show right away. There was no alternative. Even at that time, he wasn't sure they'd be ready in 30 minutes. However, they were.
Yes, it was very muddy in many areas of the track during the show but most of the water was gone. The pumps and skid loaders had worked wonders. The Great Jones County Fair had made another miracle and thousands of fans were the beneficiaries of another incredible concert in a town of 4,000 that easily grows six times as big on nights like these.