SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH – September 19, 2015 (Gephardt Daily) – The Utah State Fair has been pulling in the crowds despite the heavy rains this week.
Vendors said the fair has not been as busy as last year, but business has been brisk nonetheless. And fair attendees unequivocally said they were having a great time.
Friday night at the fair was bustling, with long lines for the rides and food and drink booths.
Carly Chapman, 42, brought her family from West Jordan. “We come every year,” she said. “We love everything about the fair and the kids especially love seeing the animals and the butter sculpture. We always look forward to that.”
Matt Sanderson, 25, from Sandy, brought his girlfriend along. “This is always a great time,” he said. “We enjoy going on the rides and also the bands that play.”
The fair opened its 11-day run Thursday morning, September 10, and will close Sunday, September 20.
An added attraction this year is The Royal Hanneford Circus, with three shows a day through Sunday, September 20. The circus replaces the headline music acts that have traditionally played the venue. But unlike those acts, the circus is free with fair admission. Seating is limited so tickets will be handed out two hours in advance.
Organizers of the Utah State Fair are fighting for the event’s future and keeping a close eye on revenues. The lease on the traditional fairpark site at North Temple and 1000 West runs out in 2017 and so far there are no guarantees the Utah legislature will renew it.
Musical acts were never big money makers for the fair, according to interim Utah State Fairpark director Ted Lewis. Organizers hope the circus will draw new fans to the event.
Of course, the agricultural exhibits will still be the main attraction. The fair estimates 95 percent of its annual supporters come to see the cows being milked and the pigs snoozing in their pens.
Fairgoers also come for the food, like the sugary and deep-fried fare that can be found on the midway.
Last year’s Utah State Fair attendance was the highest in five years, with 300,000 people purchasing tickets. That was up by 20 to 40-thousand visitors over previous years.
Although the fairpark hosts other paying customers throughout the year, the Utah State Fair is the primary source of income and its success is essential to winning a new lease for the property.
For more information about the fair click here.