Final weekend pushes Central WA Fair attendance over 326,000 - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Final weekend pushes Central WA Fair attendance over 326,000

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YAKIMA, WA - A record final Sunday crowd helped push the attendance of the Central Washington State Fair to 326,273.  On Sunday, 51,416 people came through the gates, added to the 58,850 people that attended the fair on the final Saturday, making this the best attended fair in recent history.

            Saturday’s attendance was just short of the record final Saturday attendance of 59,551 set last year.   Last year’s total attendance was 312,191.

This year’s attendance was up considerably as people came out to enjoy the unique fair foods, fun, entertainment, exhibits and more.

“It really was a great fair,” said fair president and general manager Greg Stewart about the Fair’s 125th anniversary.   “And when you have such good weather, a strong entertainment line-up, and good promotions it adds up to a really great event.” 

This year the temperatures were mostly in the 70’s and 80’s every day, and the evenings, for the most part, were pleasant allowing fairgoers a chance to stay and enjoy all the attractions.

The nice early fall weather always helps attendance, making this year the best in the past ten years. 

In 2015, warm, sunny weather helped boost attendance to 319,351.   In 2014 the attendance was 315,107.   In 2013 when the Fair experienced cool, rainy weather, attendance was 269,251.

Over 301,500 attended the fair in 2011, and in 2010, when there was another run of almost perfect early fall weather, 312,149 people came to the Fair. 

“Our promotions really helped out with keeping our admission prices down,” said Stewart.  “People really appreciated that and our attendance numbers showed some nice gains.”

On Wednesday for instance, fairgoers could get into the fair free from noon to 4 p.m. with a donation of three non-perishable food items.  The donations were collected by Yakima Rotary Clubs as part of their upcoming Operation Harvest food drive.  Over 9,000 pounds of food was collected that day, and fair attendance was up over 4,700 from the year before.

 Again this year food lovers found unique tasty treats at over 60 different food booths, and thrill seekers were entertained all ten days by the dozens of midway rides and games presented by Butler Amusements.

The other big draw was the entertainment of the U.S. Cellular Concert Series at the Corona Stage.

On opening Friday the fair presented Williams & Ree, followed by country singer Leann Rimes, and Banda Limon on Sunday.  

On Tuesday of the fair, country singer Tanya Tucker drew a huge crowd.  Other entertainment throughout the week included Smashmouth, John Kay and Steppenwolf, and En Vogue.  On the final Saturday country singer Mark Chesnutt performed, and on the final Sunday, Norteno singer Roberto Tapia also drew standing room only crowds. 

Big crowds also took in two days of sprint car races on the opening weekend, and two days of Demolition Derby had full houses on the final weekend.

Other attractions that drew plenty of interest was the Creature Feature Extreme, the All-Alaskan Racing Pigs, several street performers, exotic animals at Walk on the Wild Side and the many farm animals at Barnville.

Stewart said fair management and staff are already making plans for next year’s event. The dates for next year’s fair will be September 21-30, 2018.