By Keith Gushard
Though paid attendance at the 2013 Crawford County was below last year’s numbers, fair officials still are calling it a success.
Total paid attendance at the eight-day fair was 70,710 — 2,543 people or 3.47 percent below the 73,253 who paid to get in the gates in 2012.
Fair officials note there were some differences between the 2012 and 2013 editions that may account for the dip in attendance.
“We only had one major stage act this year,” Bill Winters, second vice president of the fair board, said at Thursday’s fair board meeting. Walter (Boots) Dunn, board president, and William Davis, first vice president, both were absent from Thursday’s meeting.
“We hope when the final accounting is done we’ll see an increase in weekly passes sold (between 2012 and 2013),” Diana Perry, the fair board’s treasurer said.
This year’s featured concerts were The Band Perry on Tuesday of fair week with about 75 percent of the 10,000 seats sold; and Rodney Atkins with a less than 50 percent sellout on Wednesday.
In 2012, Alan Jackson performed to a sellout crowd on a Saturday night while Thompson Square and the Eli Young Band performed on a Wednesday night to a crowd of 3,968.
The concert nights at the fair are based on the availability of the artists, according to the fair board.
Perry said she expects the fair to post a profit for 2013 when all bills are paid. Bills for the fair will continue to arrive into November.
Perry will present a final financial report on the 2013 fair — including profit and losses on all concerts and other grandstand entertainment and the fair itself — at the board’s December meeting.
“I think it will be a success,” Perry said of the fair’s final financial picture. “The weather was great all week. We expect to make a profit even with all the capital improvement projects we’ve had this year.”
The fair board is making approximately $150,000 in capital improvements to the fairgrounds this year, including construction of a new draft horse barn, several roof repair projects at various buildings and other improvements.
All projects except one were completed before this year’s fair. The remaining project is an upgrade later this month of the fairgrounds’ main power system to 200 amp service. The main power system is housed at the fairgrounds office. Cox & Kanyuck LLC of Guys Mills was awarded the contract by Crawford County Board of Commissioners on a low bid of $36,900.
The Crawford County Fair Board pays for capital improvements from the fair’s profits.
Crawford County government owns the fairgrounds and buildings, but the fair is operated by an independent, volunteer board appointed by county commissioners.
2014 fair dates
The Crawford County Fair may have ended less than three weeks ago, but the dates of the fair’s 2014 edition have been set.
The Crawford County Fair Board announced Thursday the 2014 fair will be Aug. 16 through 23, 2014. The eight-day fair is held at the fairgrounds off Dickson Road in West Mead Township, east of Meadville.