Local News

State Fair attendance up in tens of thousands

Posted October 18, 2008 9:58 a.m. EDT
Updated October 18, 2008 12:20 p.m. EDT

— Around 35,200 people previewed the sights, sounds and tastes of the State Fair Thursday, Public Affairs Director Brian Long said.

"It was a gorgeous evening and a great time to come to the fair," Long said.

On Friday, 42,666 people showed up at the fairgrounds, compared to 57,798 on the same day in 2007. Long speculated that a quarter-inch of rain kept some people home.

"I was really surprised. Early in the day ... there were far more people out there than I would have expected given the gloomy forecast," Long said. "Of course, last night the skies finally did open up a little bit, and so I think people went streaming for cover."

Fair-goers can expect clouds and sprinkles throughout Saturday, but Sunday will dawn cool and clear. Conditions will stay that way through the week, with temperatures rising out of the 60s only once.

Long said that he expects the fair will weather the sprinkles just fine – along with any troubles the economic downturn poses for fair-goers.

It is "certainly ... expected" that people will "keep a little tighter grip on their money," Long said. But, he said, the fair has seen strong advance ticket sales, and the annual event's appeal is still very strong.

"Folks are kind of looking forward to that fall tradition," Long said. "The State Fair is about tradition, about memories and family.

"And I think a lot of people are looking at, 'Here's our chance to go out and we can kind of control a little bit we spend,'" he added.