KENNEWICK, Wash. -- The 64th annual Benton Franklin Fair & Rodeo drew more than 120,000 people to the five-day event. Attendance was up 10 percent over the previous year. Food sales were higher as well and the carnival hit record sales of all-day ride wristbands.
"Our food sales were up, our carnival sales were up so that means people were out here, people were enjoying themselves, and people were able to spend money in our community and have a good time. And that money goes back to help have a fair next year," says Lori Lancaster, the manager for the Benton Franklin Fair & Rodeo.
A fund-raiser for 2nd Harvest resulted in 9,310 pounds of food donated by the Benton Franklin Fair. The market stock sale - where 4-H and FFA members sell their animals - raised $718,913 for the young exhibitors. The poultry and rabbit auction yielded another $25,000 for the entrants. One young exhibitor raised $6,500 for the Tri-Cities Cancer Center through the sale of her rabbit.
CM Smoke of Basin City took top prize in the BBQ Cook-Off, winning $500, a new Louisiana BBQ and half a beef. More than 11,834 entries were brought to the fair, everything from vegetables to animals to crafts.
All manner of activities took place during the week, including a tattoo contest, a wedding proposal during the rodeo, and a skydiver with a U.S. flag replica landing in the arena on Patriot Night. Crowds were strong all week with cool late August days making it pleasant for fair-goers. Next year's fair is the 65th anniversary, it is scheduled for Aug. 20-24.