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Fair attendance exceeds expectations
fair attendance pic
The Rainforest Adventure exhibit, complete with live animals, was a highlight of the 2011 Stanislaus County Fair. - photo by ANDREA GOODWIN/ The Journal

The next 100 years of the Stanislaus County Fair are off to a good start. Over 245,000 people visited the fair during its 10-day run, which ended on Sunday, an increase of nearly 20 percent over last year.

“We had an extremely successful year with all our new programs and different exhibits,” said Fair CEO Chris Borovansky. “With the economy being what it is, we made a concerted effort to present value to the community.”

Along with the increase in visitors to the fair’s centennial celebration, food sales were up 25 percent and carnival revenue was up almost 35 percent. The fair’s Park ‘N Ride shuttle bus service also exceeded expectations, delivering over 15,600 guests to the Arch Gate.

Fair officials attributed the increase in attendance to the budget-minded values offered this year including dollar rides on opening night, free entry until 3 p.m. on Sundays and a coupon book distributed to the public.

The 10 free concerts included in fair admission price also contributed to attendance numbers. Fans of boy band Big Time Rush stood in line all day to gain admission to the fair and get a good seat at the concert. That concert drew crowds rarely seen at the fair.

Other attractions at this year’s fair included a Centennial Time Tunnel exhibit, the return of the Rainforest Adventure and a 4-H Farmyard Experience that featured local agriculture displays from the last 100 years.

“There were so many high quality programs within our fair,” said Borovansky. “Our job is to reflect and showcase the best the community has to offer, and I think we were successful in achieving our goals.”

The success of this year’s fair came after a decrease in attendance in 2010. Last year, the annual fair had to change run dates due to conflicting schedules with the California State Fair. That year the fair saw an 8 percent decrease in attendance with 209,108 visitors, compared to 227,200 visitors in 2009.

To contact Kristina Hacker, e-mail or call 634-9141 ext. 2004.