Central Washington State Fair in Yakima sees large drop in attendance

YAKIMA — Central Washington State Fair attendance wasn’t bad this year, but food and carnival sales broke records, according to fair officials.

The fair ended Sunday with a total of 204,000 people coming through the gates over the course of the 10-day event. That’s down 25% from 2019’s attendance.

But fair officials consider the fair an overall success given the short time they had to plan, organize and set up the event.

Last year the event was canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

This year fair organizers had only about three months to prepare the event that featured carnival rides, food vendors and live entertainment, CEO Kathy Kramer said in a news release.

Planning the fair is typically a yearlong endeavor.

“We anticipated attendance would be down this year and truly didn’t know what to expect as we opened the fair. We are pleased with the community’s support this year. Smaller crowds provided more room for people to spread out and they stayed longer,” she said in the release.

There were some new features, such as paid reserved concert tickets that included fair admission for the day. Three shows — Gabriel “Fluffy” Iglesias, King and Country, and Josh Turner — sold out.

Livestock and culinary demonstrations were also a new experience this time.

The newly remodeled Durand Arena was placed closer to livestock barns and more visible to fairgoers and convenient for exhibitors, the release said.

A new Farm to Fork Culinary and Demonstration Stage also proved a big draw with knife skills, pesto-making lessons and charcuterie board presentations, the release said.

“We had lots of traffic in all the livestock barns and fairgoers especially liked seeing the two litters of baby piglets that were born during the fair,” Kramer said.

Source: Wenatchee World