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Fair draws more visitors in 2014
Fair attendance pic1
Along with the Stanislaus County Fair welcoming 6 percent more visitors than last year , there was an 18 percent increase in usage of rides. - photo by CANDY PADILLA/The Journal

The Stanislaus County Fair saw a banner year for its 2014 run, bringing in more visitors and more money for youth livestock exhibitors at Fair auctions.

Nearly 239,000 guests visited the Fair during its 10-day run, a 6 percent increase from 2013. Livestock entries increased with total gross sale of animals sold at the Fair auctions exceeding over $1.3 million, up from $1.1 million last year. 

Future Farmers of America  and 4-H members sold 125 heifers at the 47th Annual Replacement Heifer Sale, grossing $516,350 ($4,212 per head).  Lane Wheeler, Turlock FFA, earned Supreme Champion and sold his heifer for $5,600.  Reserve Supreme Champion was earned by Mya O’Brien, from Shiloh 4-H, and she sold her heifer for $8,000. 

The 50th Annual Junior Livestock Auction grossed $795,262 for FFA and 4-H members.  Sold at auction were four poultry pens, 22 rabbits, 138 goats, 193 sheep, 418 swine, and 33 steers. 

 “We consider ourselves very lucky to have such a supportive community,” said Adrenna Alkhas, spokesperson for the Stanislaus County Fair. “The Fair at its core has a lot of history imbedded on its grounds and is a special event for the community.”

The Fair’s free Park ‘N Ride service also exceeded expectations, delivering more than 15,872 Fair guests the historic Arch Gate from parking lots at CSU Stanislaus and Pitman High School.  Another free opportunity for guests to enjoy the Fair was the Free ‘Til 3 p.m. on Sundays. Over 31,000 guests took advantage on both Sundays to attend the Fair for free.

“In addition to a successful year filled with many high valued programs, we wanted to give back to the community by providing a chance for many to enjoy the Fair for free,” said Chris Borovansky, chief executive officer of the Stanislaus County Fair.   

Visitors to the Fair saw nearly 30,000 individual exhibitor entries, including more than 3,700 floriculture exhibits and 2,100 photography exhibits. Along with the more traditional Fair activities, visitors also went mobile, with 19,441 total downloads of the Stanislaus County Fair app.

The increase in visitors also meant more corn dog, funnel cake and cotton candy sales as Fair concessions were up 12 percent. Butler Amusement, the Fair's rides operator, saw an 18 percent increase in usage compared to 2013. 

The economic benefits of the Fair reached beyond the Arch Gate, as local businesses saw an influx in customers before, during and after the 10-day run of the Fair.

"Our hotels are filled and our restaurants are full," said Turlock Chamber of Commerce CEO Sharon Silva. "We are very fortunate to have the Stanislaus County Fair in the city."