Hall County Fair Attracts Fewer People

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GRAND ISLAND, Neb. -- After a week full of events, the Hall County Fair came to an end Sunday. The fair's attendance has been low in the past few years and continues to decline.

The Nebraska State Fair, which is held on the same grounds, attracted more than 300,000 people in 2013. The county fair only brought around 9,000 people this year, which is 5,000 less than in 2013.

Hall County Fair Board Vice President Jeff Ewoldt attributes the decrease to the economy.

"Some of our concerts just weren't as filled as we like to see them, but even the attendance at the carnival was down this year," Ewoldt said. "People aren't buying. The ticket sales for the shows were down. They just, you know, we had a good line up of entertainment but just sales were low."

While fewer people may be coming to the county fair, one Grand Island resident said the week-long event is still supported locally.

"I really like the set up," Colby Collins said. "The facilities [are] awesome. I think the thing that probably hurts the attendance more than anything is the state fair coming around the corner, so it's become more of what the traditional county fair is, you know, just the families around. There's still some support from Grand Island."

Ewoldt said the fair isn't all about the numbers, but the opportunities it gives kids.

"A lot of people come out, not as many as we'd hoped for this year," Ewoldt said. "The biggest deal is it gives the kids an opportunity to show off their livestock that they've worked on yearly."

Ewoldt said the Hall County Fair Board is already brainstorming new events to add to the fair next year in hopes that it will attract a larger crowd.