BLACKFOOT – The 2010 Eastern Idaho State Fair ended its eight-day run on Saturday to a record-setting crowd and the second-highest Saturday attendance in Fair history.
For eight days, an estimated 200,000 visitors experienced the entertainment, rides, exhibits, animals and food at Eastern Idaho’s longest running community event.
Fair attendance this year was down an estimated five percent from 2009. (With perfect weather, the 2009 Fair had a record attendance.) However, high attendance both Saturdays enabled the 2010 Fair to recover slightly from inclement weather on Thursday, Sept. 9 – its worst attendance day in recent memory.
“Mother Nature was the only disappointment to an otherwise very successful run,” said Fair manager Brandon Bird. “She gave something for everyone – a couple days of perfect weather, one hot day, a couple cool days, a windy day, and Thursday’s harsh combination of wind and cold rain. Despite this, we maintained a winning lineup of entertainment here that kept the crowds coming.”
Bird said Labor Day numbers were also impressive.
“We were just shy of last year’s record on Labor Day,” Bird said.
Butler Amusements, which brought 16 new carnival rides to the Fair this year, had the biggest day ever on Saturday, Sept. 11.
“The last Saturday blew the doors off,” Bird said, adding that the carnival was one of the best, cleanest and nicest to come to the Fair.
“It was just a great carnival,” Bird said.
Ticket sales were up on the Fair’s nighttime entertainment – especially the Foreigner concert Sept. 9, the Kenny Rogers and the Oak Ridge Boys concert Sept. 10, and the always popular Demolition Derby on Sept. 11 – thanks to a new online ticketing system.
This added convenience enabled fairgoers to purchase tickets and select their seats in advance and online, without waiting in ticket lines. Bird said advanced ticket sales were up 60-70 percent from last year.
For the first time in 2010, Pari-Mutuel Horse Racing and Indian Relay Races were held on a Sunday in addition to Monday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday. With prestigious new AQHA events along with added money purses of $25,000, the races brought an increased attendance not before seen in the past 10 years.
Bird said there was nearly a 25 percent increase in attendance to the horse racing from 2009, as demonstrated in both attendance numbers and the number of those betting.
Overall, the 2010 Eastern Idaho State Fair held true to its Rock Around the Stock theme, with overwhelming attendance and crowd-pleasing entertainment throughout the week.
“We’re very satisfied with this year’s fair,” Bird said.
The 2011 Eastern Idaho State Fair will return to Blackfoot on Saturday, Sept. 3, through Saturday, Sept. 10.