The 137th Fayette County Fair was on par with attendance numbers from 2015, according to Senior Fair Board President Bob Schwartz, secretary Faith Cottrill and fair board member Doug Marine.
The fair, which ran from July 18-23, saw a slightly lower attendance than last year in daily “paid gate” admission. Compared to numbers from past years, such as in 2014 where about 16,000 patrons paid for admission and in 2015, where about 16,500 paid for admission, the fair had between 16,000 and 16,500 daily admission.
According to Schwartz, the largest increase was in the pre-sale passes which included daily admission and several options that allowed patrons to enjoy the assortment of rides provided by Amusements of America. These passes increased by about 15 to 20 percent.
“We have no real way of counting the attendance,” Marine said. “This is because we have so many passes and wristbands, it’s hard to know who actually came with that pass. So when we talk about attendance, we can only count paid gate admission. The paid gate number was a little less than last year, but our passes were higher. So we would say that we are probably at about the same numbers as last year. The Thursday rain and the hot days probably contributed to the lower attendance.”
Fair week went off without much of an issue, according to organizers, except for frustration at the amount of rides that were damaged on their way to the fair, and several rides that were down due to other mechanical issues. These issues sparked several conversations from patrons that were complaining about rides having issues.
“I would say the only disappointment would have been that the rides, through no fault of anybody, were down,” Schwartz said. “Other than that I think it was a pretty safe fair. We did not have any accidents or incidents. We are disappointed, which is probably the best way to put it, that three of the rides were mechanically malfunctioning, and two of the rides we didn’t get because they were in an accident on the Pennsylvania Turnpike.”
Organizers said that this was the third year with Amusements of America and that in the past the company has done an outstanding job for the fair. The board said they are disappointed and can understand why there was some disappointment by patrons. Amusements of America and Fayette County Fairgrounds representatives said they are committed to making it better in the future and hope that there will be more rides next year with fewer mechanical issues.
“We do not want to ignore it because we were also disappointed with the situation,” Marine said. “There were a few things beyond people’s control. They have done great for us for a couple years, and we are still on contract with them for the next two years. We know they are committed to making the fair better next year.”
The senior fair board has already started plans for next fair, including the possibility of bringing new restrooms to the grounds. For more information, check out their website at fayettecofairoh.com.
Reach Martin Graham at (740) 313-0351 or on Twitter @MartiTheNewsGuy