Attendance at the Stanislaus County Fair, which concluded on July 17, was down eight percent compared to the 2015 numbers.
The Fair reported 220,000 guests during its 10-day run, an 8 percent decrease from 2015. While Fair concessions were up seven percent, ride operator Butler Amusement experienced a flat number compared to 2015.
"We had an extremely successful year with many in attendance and exhibitors present," said Matt Cranford, chief executive officer of the Stanislaus County Fair. "Many larger fairs were impacted this year with low attendance numbers. Our fair is filled with community support who have always stood behind us and supported us when needed."
The Fair's free Park ‘N Ride service also exceeded Fair officials' expectations, delivering more than 14,316 Fair guests to its historic Arch Gate where guests were able to park free 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 30,000 guests took advantage on both Sundays to attend the Fair for free until 3 p.m.
Nearly 30,000 individual entries were exhibited at the 2016 Fair, from apple pies to market beef to tulips.
"The exhibit program is what sets us apart from other Fairs in the state," said Adrenna Alkhas, spokesperson for the Stanislaus County Fair. "The true mark of a fair's success is not in attendance numbers, but in positive exhibitor participation and happy fair guests."
Livestock increased in entry numbers with total gross sale of animals sold at the Fair auctions exceeding over $1.336 million. Future Farmers of America (FFA) and 4-H members sold 125 heifers at the 49th Annual Replacement Heifer Sale, grossing $427,450 ($2,954 per head). Supreme Champion was Katie Henriques of Modesto FFA, selling her heifer at $8,000. Reserve Supreme Champion was Avery Martin, from Hilmar FFA, selling her heifer at $4,100.
The 52nd Annual Junior Livestock Auction grossed $909,196 for FFA and 4-H members. Sold at auction were four poultry pens, four market turkeys, 29 rabbits, 171 goats, 183 sheep, 400 swine, and 58 steers.
The excitement of seven nights of motorsports, and three nights of rodeo in the FoodMaxx Arena were also welcomed by Fair guests. Both destruction derbies were also well attended.
All of the 10 free celebrity concerts on the Bud Light Variety Free Stage were very well received. Rachel Platten, Night Ranger, Noel Torres, The Commodores, Parmalee, Jody Watley and Shalamar, Dwight Yoakam, Kellie Pickler, Ashanti, and Los Dinnos drew in large crowds.