Eastern Idaho State Fair (EISF) officials have been busily crunching numbers since the fair ended on Saturday. The ending results revealed that the "Barnyard Birthday Bash" of 2012 will go down in the record books as the most attended fair in Blackfoot's history, setting a new attendance record of over 224,000 visitors. This beats the former record of 221,000 visitors set in 2009.
EISF manager Brandon Bird remained optimistic even though a severe rainstorm dropped seven tenths of an inch of rain on the fairgrounds on opening day. The owner closed down the carnival for the evening and the rain washed out two days of the popular horse races.
"If we had to have bad weather, I'm glad it happened early in the week," Bird said. "There was still plenty of opportunity for people to come and enjoy the fair."
The weather was ideal the rest of the week and fair-goers flocked to the grandstand events, creating the largest attendance in over five years.
Bird said he believes that fair-goers recognized and took advantage of the value provided by a reduction in ticket prices for many of the grandstand events including the inaugural Gem State Classic Pro Rodeo and the combo price on the concerts for Three Dog Night and Heart.
"Our effort to bring a new high quality PRCA rodeo event to the fair was unbelievably well received with attendees still talking about the quality of the show," Bird said. "Also, our two-night concert package was embraced by music fans from all over East idaho, nearly selling out for the first time in years. We're looking forward to incorporating a similar package next year."
Fair-goers also enjoyed plenty of free entertainment and educational opportunities at this year's fair including the Live Shark Encounter, Agrium Seed Survivor presented by Zion's Bank, a variety of top quality entertainment on the West Events stage and the Meet the Animals petting zoo presented by Farm Bureau of Idaho.
"It's the dedication of thousands of people that make this fair great," Bird said. "Everyone from the exhibitors to concessionaires, sponsors to employees and especially those who attended this year's event have made this celebration of our 110th anniversary something we will never forget."
"It's never too early to get excited for next year's fair which will be held Aug. 30 through Sept. 7, 2013," he concluded.