October 25, 2014

Iowa State Fair attendance down this year

Attendance for this year’s Iowa State Fair will fall short of the one “million mark.” Skies were clear  Sunday on the fair’s closing day, but Lori Chappel, the fair’s marketing manager, says school start dates were a factor.

“It does impact our attendance, especially on that last Sunday, as people are getting ready to head back to college and school for some is already in session,” Chapel says. “So for a lot of folks they pass on coming to the fair and usually will stay home to get ready for school.” Just over 877,000 people were admitted to the fairgrounds for the first 10 days of the fair.

Sunday was the 11th and last day of the 2010 fair. “We are fairly certain we won’t hit the million mark. We needed a pretty large number headed into yesterday. We don’t have the final number yet,” Chappel says. “We did have a lot of fairgoers here, though. Hopefully they all had a great time. That’s what it’s all about.”

A 20-year-old from Wayland won the Bill Riley Talent Search at the State Fair for a routine that combined tap dancing and acrobatics. Isaac Stauffer had finished as runner-up in the competition in 2007, 2008 and 2009. “He was very excited. In fact, I had a chance to catch his performance and what an amazing and talented young man,” Chappel says. “He’s certainly going to go places with his skills and talents.”

Stauffer is studying dance at the University of Iowa. He did back flips during his winning routine. “I didn’t know people could do the things he was doing on tap shoes and then including all the acrobatics that he was doing as well,” Chappel says. “It was pretty amazing.” One of the State Fair Grandstand shows sold out this year. Nearly 11,000 people bought tickets to see Sugarland for the sell-out on Saturday night.

There may have been an even bigger crowd for a free show, according to Chappel. “Vanilla Ice and Tone Loc were at our AE stage Monday evening and it was a packed house, estimated between 10,000 to 12,000 people,” Chappel says. “Not as large as a few years ago when Raven was here.”

R-and-B/Hip hop singer Raven-Symone, the youngest star on “The Cosby Show” during the 1980s, performed on a free stage during the 2006 Iowa State Fair. In 1998, the Dixie Chicks were booked to play two shows on a free stage at the fair and officials estimate they attracted an overflow crowd more than 8,000.