Lower Attendance at 2014 Fair | Officials Still Pleased

By: Kim Cung - Email
By: Kim Cung - Email

GRAND ISLAND, Neb. -- Welcome signs are being taken down and vendors are packing up their booths. The state fair has officially come to a close. Members of the state fair board say overall, they're pleased with how it went. Especially because early results from the survey of 10,000 fair goers are positive.

"We scored, 4.55 out of 5 in family friendliness and that's really important to us," said Jana Kruger, the District 2 Board Member.

The fair scored well in overall enjoyment too, even though attendance dropped more than 5 percent from last year. However, one weekday saw a big boost.

"I think we maybe have found the magic pill if you will, for some weekday attendance. So the $2 Tuesday was very successful, we saw about a 30 percent increase over the previous year," said Joseph McDermott, the Executive Director for the fair.

The deal for Tuesday did so well, McDermott said they are thinking about doing something similar for Thursday next year.

Fair officials say the record rainfall affected attendance and ticket sales, but vendors have a different opinion.

Dustin Beener, the owner of Hardenbrook's Concessions said,"Cooler weather was good and the rain happened at the best time possible, I would say. Later and during the weekdays when business was slower anyway."

Beener said out of 56 years in business with the fair, this was his best year yet. And Lisa Bailey said despite the rain, she still made a profit.

"Yeah, I believe we did. I believe we did. We had a great turnout and the customers always love the pecan rolls. We have lines forever. Honestly, overall, we had a great time," said Bailey.

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