GRANTS PASS, Ore. — It was a big weekend for the Josephine County Fairgrounds. Not only was it Fourth of July weekend, but it was also the final weekend of the Grants Pass Downs.
Saturday the track celebrated with a series of horse races paying tribute to Don Jackson, a legend and founding father of horse racing in Josephine County. Sunday was Fan Appreciation Day.
This year organizers said the handle was up more than $50,000 dollars from last year and attendance is up 10-15%.
“We have a lot of newbies … a lot of people that have never been to the races before,” said President of Southern Oregon Horse Racing Association (SOHRA) Rod Lowe.
SOHRA took over the event in 2013. Since then, it’s been nothing but good news. Even some vendors said they’ve seen about a 30% increase in profit from last year.
“I’ve had people come up to me and say this kind of seems like the place to be. So that’s what we’re trying to create, is trying to create a place to be. And we’ve gotten a lot of praise for that this year,” said Lowe.
They also got a lot of praise for helping to bring the Josephine County Fairgrounds back to life. The manager at the fairground said last year was tough. But the community reacted and helped keep the place afloat.
Crews will get to focus more on the 2014 Josephine County Fair this week. The Fair is August 13-16.