The 123rd Adams County Fair ended on the high note of sweet success - the 2014 fair attendance numbers were higher than 2013, 2012, and 2011. Altogether, the fair saw a 48.2 percent increase in general admissions from last year and a 28.5 percent increase in all-week passes, going from 7,316 general admissions and 905 all-week passes to 10,841 general admissions and 1,163 all-week passes.
In fact, the 2014 fair was on pace to beat even the 2010 fair’s attendance of 13,013 general admissions; however, the rain on Sunday, Friday, and Saturday caused a slump in numbers. Only 1,548 people passed through the gates on Friday compared to 2010’s Friday numbers of 3,166. Had the rain stayed away, this year’s Friday numbers might have been as high.
The fair board reported they have received a lot of positive feedback this year.
“Everyone has said they love how good the grounds look now, and quite a few people have told us they liked having the horse shows in the center ring,” said Darlene Anderson, secretary of the Adams County Fair Board.
The attendees and fair board aren’t the only ones happy about this year’s fair.
“All of the vendors have said that they are very pleased. They had good business all week,” said Anderson.
Attendees may have noted a few empty spots for vendors, though. In the Merchant Hall and along the center ring near the right side of the grandstands, vacant spots caught people’s attention.
“The vendors just didn’t show up,” Anderson explained. “We had five vendors not come in at all for the Merchant Hall, and they had rented those spots. Usually, we will space the vendors who do come out a bit if we have some notice, but we didn’t.”
As for the empty spots near where the old arcade pavilion used to be, “We never heard from them. They reserved the spots for a bucking bull and a bungee ball, but they didn’t show. We ended up finding someone else to come in and set up their bucking bull for the last few days.”
The conversation quickly turned to next year’s fair. The fair this year saw some fantastic, unseasonable weather that favored people getting outside. The fair can’t count on the weather being as cooperative next year, and the fair board is considering moving the fair to later in the year.
“The turnout this year is good evidence that cooler weather will definitely help our attendance numbers,” Anderson stated.
Other ideas were discussed for how to increase attendance, with many focusing on increasing afternoon and adult participation. Food eating contests in the center ring, inviting the schools to set up booths in the bays under the grandstand, and other possibilities were mentioned. All of this would need to be discussed during a fair board meeting to be officially considered and decided on.