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Of all the people selling stuff at the Ozark Empire Fair, you’d think the lemonade vendors would have it made in the shade. After all, with temperatures lingering at or above 100 into the evening hours, people need to stay hydrated. Steve Sweeton of Springfield sells lemonade, corn dogs, and other treats at the fair.
“You have to look at it two ways: The crowds are down because of the heat. So, lemonade sales are down, as well as food sales. It does hurt very much when it gets this hot.”
“It’s very slow. There are really too many lemonade stands really.”
That’s Julius Armstrong. He runs a lemonade stands just a short walk from Steve Sweeton’s place.
“It’s a lot of fun but the heat is making the people not really show and enjoy themselves out here.”
Even vendors selling frozen treats aren’t faring well this year. Diana Fornter operates the pineapple whip stand near the E-Plex.
“The heat just keeps people away. Yes, pineapple whip is a good product, but you’ve got to have people here too.”
If there’s any benefit for vendors, perhaps it’s the fact that those who are at the fair are opting to pay more for larger sizes of cold drinks and treats.