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N.C. State Fair Ends With Lower Attendance, Record Midway

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RALEIGH, N.C. — The North Carolina State Fair ended Sunday after less-than-spectacular crowds and some failed ride inspections early on.

Officials said 795,930 people attended the fair this year, 40,389 less than the 836,319 that attended last year.

  • Still, fair spokesman Brian Long said overall attendance ranked fourth in the fair's history.

    Figures showed that 39,231 people attended concerts at the fair, and bought $430,354 worth of tickets.

    Dierks Bentley and Third Day were sellouts, and Montgomery Gentry and Trace Adkins were near sellouts, said Tiffany Budd, a promotions specialist with the state fair.

    High gasoline prices and their cut into the public's disposable income was cited as a factor behind the lower attendance, said Steve Troxler, North Carolina agriculture commissioner.

    Troxler also said news reports that some of the rides were not running because they had not passed inspection may have kept some people away. North Carolina has some the nation's strictest ride inspection standards.

    Wade Shows' contract required at least 93 rides to be up and running by noon on opening day Oct. 14. Only 82 were operating then. Wade Shows may have to pay a $55,000 penalty for the first day and $500 for each additional day a ride was not open. State Commissioner of Agriculture Steve Troxler said he should have the amount of the fines next week. Both sides will likely negotiate on a new fine.

    Those who did go enjoyed a larger midway, a record number of rides and great weather.

    "It's been a good fair. Good weather, and all the bases were covered," said Robert Novak, 41, of Hope Mills, who said he's attended about 20 state fairs.

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