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State Fair reaches 1 million attendance mark again

Posted October 24, 2011

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— Thanks to a strong final weekend and good weather for much of the past 10 days, the 2011 North Carolina State Fair hit the 1 million attendance mark for the second year in a row. However, that didn't necessarily translate into a banner year for some vendors.

With 105,499 people in attendance Sunday, the total attendance for the fair was 1,009,173, second only to 2010, when 1,091,887 people attended. 

State Fair spokesman Brian Long says vendors reported a mixed bag of profit, some saying they had "their best day ever" and others saying "sales are down a little bit."

2011 NC State Fair Fair attendance dips, spending drops

"We'll never do another year like we did last year. That was fantastic," food vendor Ed Fuller said. "The crowds were pretty good (this year), but they weren't spending."

Most people go to the fair with a set budget, Fuller said, and it's hard to predict how willing they are to spend it.

"They divide it up against eating, riding and so forth. You can't ever tell," he said.

The Fullers' Charcoal Hearth booth is not a make-or-break enterprise. The family splits the profit and makes enough to have some fun, he said.

"We did all right. We're going to come back next year," he said.

State Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler called the fair "wonderful" and said he hopes people have already marked their calendars for the 2012 State Fair, which is scheduled for Oct. 11-21 next year.

“For the most part, we had fantastic weather, and the final weekend was absolutely beautiful," Troxler said in a statement. "I cannot thank fairgoers enough for their continued support."


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  • loved197928 Oct 26, 2011

    I enjoy taking my family to the fair. Its something different to do outside or everyday rutine. After watching the news and seeing how many people were arrested and what the were arrested for, I dont think we will return next year. It made me nerves before to know that the rides are taking down and put back up quickly every two weeks or so, but now to know some of the people in charge of the rides are getting arrested for selling drugs and such, but probley useing them as well. Not very safe in my eyes. Its sad. And the amount of people walking around smoking was crazy.

  • Tray Cee Oct 25, 2011

    All of last week they were talking about how numbers were down fair attendance was down...and now all of a sudden this is the second best year they've had..gotta love the news!!

  • LtDansMagicLegs Oct 24, 2011

    Want to avoid the crowds? Don't go on the weekend. Went monday afternoon, hardly any lines for rides and plenty of room to walk around. Go on sat/sun if you're a glutton for punishment.

  • smcallah Oct 24, 2011

    Wow, people really don't take the Edwards Mill Rd. entrance do they? What is wrong with them? I was there on Saturday, got in early and was leaving at about 2:30pm, looked to be the height of attendance for the day, and there was almost no traffic on Trinity towards Edwards Mill when leaving.

    I can't imagine why people would suffer through Hillsborough St...

  • picsatexhibition Oct 24, 2011

    My wife and I go on the can good day so we are only out the cost of 8 can goods. Plus, we feel that those who need the can goods really appreciate it.

  • mpheels Oct 24, 2011

    Parking on public property for the fair is free (Carter-Finley, RBC Center). Companies and residents in the area near the fair grounds have the right to charge for the use of their property for parking. It isn't the state's fault you didn't do a little research ahead of time.

    Also, I don't understand the traffic jams. The DOT posts signs begging people to use the Edwards Mill route, but people insist on taking the more congested Wade Ave and Hillsborough St routes.

    Personally, I started taking the TTA bus a few years ago, and will never drive myself again. For $5, roughly the cost of gas for the 60 mile round trip from home for me, you get to let someone else deal with the crazies on I-40, preferential treatment at intersections, use of otherwise closed off lanes to skip the traffic backed up, and you're dropped off right at the gate.

  • jbtilley Oct 24, 2011

    1 million attendees. They must have made bank with the obnoxious prices they charge.

  • shebaperson Oct 24, 2011

    If you want to avoid traffic, take Wade Ave. to Edwards Mill to Trinity and come up the back side. There was no traffic, I know because I went to the fair twice the year and there was no traffic from that way. If you want to cut costs, bring your own snacks and buy your tickets in advance. If you want to avoid long line, simply go early on Saturday or Sunday. There are NO lines for rides at 11am. And if you don’t want to pay for parking, park at RBC…they offer free shuttle service! But, on the other hand, I supposed there are some people who will always have something to complain about. :- )

  • smcallah Oct 24, 2011

    "Yep, and they did it without me cause I did not have no money to go! Hooray! But, I will vote in 2012 cause we need hope and change, but not from this dude!"

    And I'm making more money this year than I have in the last 10 years. I spent 18 months laid off under W. Bush between 2001 and 2003. Yet here I am with the best job I've ever had, and getting hits on my resume on LinkedIn for 3 very large companies for my skills.

    Economy sounds great to me...

  • smcallah Oct 24, 2011

    "I would like to know how they know how many people attend each day. They don't have a counter to walk through at the gates. Some people buy advance tickets so they can't go by ticket sales at the gate. "

    Use some logic there... maybe they go by ticket sales at the gate ADDED to the advance ticket sales online??!?! Could it be?! Do you think they have a calculator to do that with?