Record heat on opening day and a conflict with local high school graduations may have affected attendance at the 2019 Merced County Fair, which saw a 10 percent decrease in those who attended the Fair last year.
The 2019 Merced County Fair unaudited attendance total during the five-day run from June 5-9 was 64,536 people, a decrease of 10 percent from last year’s total of 71,201 people. Despite the drop in attendance, the 2019 Fair saw record sales in its livestock auction and the groundbreaking of a new shade structure for the fairgrounds.
“We are so honored to once again host the biggest party in Merced County for our community,” said Teresa Burrola, CEO of the Merced County Fair. “We not only entertained, but were able to educate our fairgoers with our various exhibits and attractions thanks to partners like UC Merced’s Mobile Makers Space, Kids Discovery Station, our F.A.C.T. program students and more. We are thankful for the continued community support and look forward to next year – which thankfully will not overlap with graduations!”
The 2019 Merced County Fair marked some momentous occasions including the unveiling and groundbreaking of the new 5,000 sq. ft. permanent shade structure near the Bear Creek Plaza Stage that will be known as the Central Valley Concrete & Central Valley Trucking Picnic Area. On June 5 at the Fair’s Opening Ceremony festivities, Merced County Fair Board President Lori Gallo and CEO Burrola, joined Central Valley Concrete & Trucking Vice President Staci Leonardo and generations of the Neal family to unveil the rendering and break ground this new structure that will be completed by the 2020 Merced County Fair and available to not only fairgoers, but the community as a venue for year round events.
As always, livestock was a big draw at the Fair with a variety of shows taking place over the course of the week of the Fair. The Small Animal Auction on June 7 saw the sale of 108 animals generating $22,915 in sales. Then that same day, the Dairy Replacement Heifer Sale generated $230,458 from 74 heifers sold. On June 8, the Junior Livestock Auction was a resounding success generating $724,197 in sales by 4-H, FFA and Independent Exhibitors, a 9.8 percent increase over last year’s record sales totals. A total of 617 goats, pigs, lambs and beef were sold this year.
The Merced County Fair Board of Directors served 650 dinners for the Junior Livestock Auction buyers and their families in the Central Valley Concrete & Central Valley Trucking picnic area to show the Fair’s appreciation for the buyers’ continued support of the Fair’s livestock program and the hardworking 4-H, FFA and Independent exhibitors.
More than 4,535 entries were received and displayed in three competitive exhibit display areas - Jr. Ag Mechanics and Ag Exhibits, presented by MID Water & Power, Floriculture and the Merced Arts Pavilion (Kids’, Fine and Home Arts) — this does not include the 1,417 animals entered into the Livestock competitions.
“We are incredibly proud of the quality of this year’s Fair – providing a safe, affordable and family-friendly entertainment option for our community,” said Burrola. “We want to thank everyone who came out to enjoy the Fair this year, as well as the wide array of people who played a role in helping our community ‘Discover the Magic’ of the Merced County Fair!”