Numbers from the first day's attendance were not as glowing. About 50,000 people attended the fair’s opening day on Friday – down about 2,500 from last year and the lowest number in five years.
“Today has not been quite as hectic as we usually expect on the first Saturday,” she said.
The crowds was growing by Saturday night, though, and fair officials said sales of concert tickets have been great. At least three concerts have been sold out.
Admission prices have been raised $1 from a year ago, to $7. A sheet of ride tickets costs the same but has six fewer tickets than last year.
Nightly fireworks went off on schedule Saturday, despite concerns about setting off the explosive entertainment during a drought. The fire marshal issued a permit for the fireworks on Sept. 26, and crews from the Western Wake Fire Department will be on hand every night.
In the past 20 years, the State Fair fireworks have never been canceled, even during the severe drought of 2002.
But State Fair Manager Wesley Wyatt sent a letter telling all vendors and exhibitors to conserve water. Vehicles and food trailers may only be spot cleaned, and fair workers will wash down the streets only as needed for public health.
Watering plants and gardens is also restricted, and staff will be on the lookout for leaky hoses.
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