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County fair attendance up, ticket sales down

Sep 27, 2013 - By Eric Blom, Staff Writer

The fair board has considered adding and reorganizing events.

An end-of-year report on the Fremont County Fair contained mixed news: More people attended the Fremont County Fair this year than last year, but ticket sales for music shows were lower than expected.

The fair board said it plans to make changes for next year.

"About 1,200 more people (went) through the gates than the previous year," Fremont County Fair Board chairwoman Amy Hamilton told Fremont County commissioners on Sept. 17. "We just thought we'd sell a few more tickets than we did sell."

Low sales for the Oak Ridge Boys and Kip Moore shows caused the fair to lose money on those events, but strong attendance at the demolition derby and tractor pull balanced out the losses, Hamilton said.

"Fremont County's just not really a concert venue," she said. "I can tell you if it has a motor, and it makes lots of noise, we make lots of money."

Youth entered 200 fewer static exhibits in this year's fair compared to 2012, but the junior livestock show was stronger than ever.

"The junior livestock sale was the highest we've ever had," Hamilton said. "It brought in half a million dollars."

Older residents also entered more exhibits, she said.

The ranch rodeo on the Wednesday of fair week also was popular, she said. Overall, four of the fair's seven evening events made money, while three of them lost money.

Next year, the fair board plans to have hog wrestling on the first Saturday of fair week and the following Sunday evening will be open, Hamilton said. The board is considering bringing in a medieval jousting group for one of the nights as well.

Livestock shows could see a change next year as well. The fair board plans to start them on the Tuesday of fair week. They started on Wednesday this year.

"We will start our shows on Tuesday rather than slamming everything on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday," Hamilton said. "We'll have another day of shows this year."

Spreading the shows over more days would allow them to end earlier each day, she said.

Commissioners asked how a land swap with the Depot Foundation finalized this summer would affect the fair. The fair gained a parcel of land to the west of the fairgrounds.

The new property would allow the fair to gain access off South Broadway Avenue, Hamilton said. She hopes people hauling livestock trailers would be able to use the planned Broadway Avenue entrance to the fairgrounds, which would help those fairgoers get in faster.