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Published: Tuesday, 8/7/2012

State fair attendance boosted by weather

840,306 visitors most since '04 event

BY KATHY LYNN GRAY
COLUMBUS DISPATCH

COLUMBUS -- Fair weather gave this year's Ohio State Fair a boost, with unofficial attendance topping last year's by 7,002 people, officials announced Monday.

The 840,306 people who went through the gates were the most for a 12-day fair since 2004, which was the first year the fair went to 12 days from 17. That year, 850,218 people attended. Last year's attendance was 833,304.

The fair ended Sunday, but final figures for ticket and other sales will take more time to tally, said Doug Smalley, the fair's financial director.

He said he expects to know today how much the fair made from concessions, rides, booth rentals, and fees.

Determining revenue from ticket sales will take longer because fair officials must wait for numbers from businesses that sold fair tickets.

Rain, the bane of fair attendance, interrupted fair-goers on only two days, and only for a short period each time.

The busiest days were Saturdays, when more than 100,000 people attended. The slowest were the first three days of the fair, which started on July 25, and last Tuesday.

Attendance can be affected by nightly concerts because each purchased concert ticket includes a fair admission ticket. That included 27,000 people who bought tickets to see country-music star Jason Aldean on Sunday at Crew Stadium adjacent to the fairgrounds.

At least one concert usually is held at Crew Stadium during the fair.

The highest attendance at the fair was more than 1 million in 2003, the last year the fair was 17 days.

Next year's fair is to run from July 24 to Aug. 4.



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