State Fair attendance down 10%

Attendance so far at the State Fair is 10 percent lower compared to last year.


Attendance so far at the State Fair is 10 percent lower compared to last year.

State Fair officials report about 770,000 people walked through the gates of the fairgrounds in the first 12 days of 2010. That number is down to about 700,000 this year.

Vendors said foot traffic has slowed since Saturday's stage collapse which killed six people and injured dozens more.

"There's just not very many people here," said Randy Johnson, manager of Barto's Basket stand. "No bodies. They can't buy your products.
They can't visit anybody's booth. They can't go on the rides."

Isaac Orme owns the Popcorn Creations stand and agreed with Johnson.

"It does hurt for the whole year when you have a bad year at this Fair."

Orme said things started to go downhill when the Fair shut down on Sunday.

"That's a really big hit, because weekend is when we make most of our money at the fair," said Orme.

Officials aren't sure how that will translate into revenue loss yet, but what hurts the vendors hurt them. The Fair get's a 20 percent cut of their sales.

Without a Grand Stand, the Fair misses out on massive dinner crowds.

"When you have that big A list performer in the Grand Stand, you're gonna have a crowd of 10, 12, 15,000 people," explained Andy Klotz, spokesman for the State Fair. " Then there's maybe 20,000 people who aren't here on the grounds that night."

The Fair tried to boost attendance, by offering free admission on Thursday and Friday, but Johnson isn't sure it's working.

"It didn't bring in what we had hoped it would," he said.

He's hoping things will turn around in the days ahead.

"I'm praying that there's a really good crowd tomorrow and Sunday."

Klotz said he's not sure the Fair will have any more free admission days, but that they will continue to offer specials and discounts.


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