Attendance up at Nebraska State Fair

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Grand Island, Neb.- Records are made to be broken, and central Nebraskans just put another one on the board, highest attendance for a Grand Island-based Nebraska State Fair.

Just over 361-thousand went through the gates over the fair’s 11 day run, up from any of the previous six years. Sunday was the busiest day at the fair, with 56-thousand taking in the sights

Approval ratings are good too. Survey takers rated the fair a 4.5 out of five.

Fair officials say between clean up, paperwork and paying some bills, they still have plenty to do. Which doesn’t mean they don’t appreciate what just happened.

On Monday, 35-thousand people strolled the State Fairgrounds. On Tuesday, it was sights and sounds of a different sort, with truck rumbling and back-up warning beeps filling the air.

It's moving out day after the State Fair ended. With attendance topping 361-thousand, a Grand Island site record, fair Executive Director Joseph McDermott says people like what they are seeing.

"I think Nebraskans are proud of this fair and they show it,” said McDermott. “And our surveys show that. We just need to make sure that we continue in the right direction and don't lose the momentum that we currently have."

Even before the grounds are cleared this week, work has begun on 2017.

"Yep, we already are thinking about the 2017 Nebraska State Fair,” said Chelsey Jungck, the fair’s Events and Entertainment Director.

“More and more so, entertainment bookings (are) getting further and further in advance, and so we got approval earlier this year to start working on our concert series in particular."

Maybe you have a favorite act that was either strolling the grounds or happening in the entertainment area. Fair officials have listened to what the more popular acts are, and before they even leave the grounds, they're talking to them.

“If they were really, really, really a hit then, yes, I try to grab them right away and say, 'Hey, we already want you back, can I get on your calendar,” said Jungck.

Jungck says they'll also travel to trade shows and other fairs for even more ideas. As she visits other fairs, she continues to rate Nebraska’s high.

"I think we're right there at the top,” she said. “Absolutely."

And just in case you're keeping track, it's only 353 days until opening day of the next State Fair, better start planning now.

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