More than 20,000 piled into Rochester Fair on Saturday, alone

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Samantha of Circus Hollywood, left, shares a laugh with Anna Rolando of Tibbetts Farm in Berwick, Maine, and her daughter, Michaela Tibbetts, 11. Also on hand is their boxer, Chipper. (Rochester Voice photos)

ROCHESTER - More than 20,000 folks walked through the gates of the Rochester Fair on Saturday, far eclipsing any kind of numbers that could've been hoped for by fair organizers and board members, an organizer said on Wednesday.

"This was way beyond our expectations," said fair organizer and former longtime manager Mark Perry. "Hopefully we'll have weather just as good this weekend."

Adam Baker, who works for Circus Hollywood, on Wednesday making new animal cages at the Rochester Fairgrounds.

After a rainy first day last Thursday, the fair enjoyed stellar weather through the weekend.

It appears the fair will be blessed with four more days of good weather, too. After a soggy start this morning skies should clear by this afternoon well before the 4 p.m. opening.

Sitting in his headquarters on Wednesday, Perry called the number from the fair's first four days sort of vindication after how hard so many had worked to see it come back.

He added he was overwhelmed by the amount of people who personally came up to thank him, Rochester Fair board members and many of the some 100 volunteers for helping to make the fair a reality after so much negativity came out over the past 16 months.

Perry said the gratitude is being expressed "across the spectrum," especially by families bringing their kids to the fair, some for the first time after last year's unexpected cancellation.

Other signs of encouragement include a sold out grandstand Friday and Saturday and a filled-to-capacity Circus Hollywood on Saturday and Sunday.

Perry said after going 10 days straight as in the past, he likes the three-day hiatus where organizers get to retool and reset after opening weekend.

Tonight's Grandstand event - free with admission - is N.H.'s Got Talent at 7 p.m.

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