Fewer people attended this year’s Iowa State Fair than anytime since 2010. Preliminary records show roughly 1,016,000 people attended the fair during its 11-day run that ended Sunday. Iowa State Fair CEO Gary Slater says rainy weather on a couple of days had an impact and he noticed fewer people on the fairgrounds last Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday.
“A lot of schools started during the middle of the Iowa State Fair this year and you could certainly tell that when mid-week hit, the number of young people and the participation in 4H and FFA went way down,” Slater said. Around 30,000 more people went to the fair in 2013 than this year.
Slater noted that one-million people attending the fair is equal to roughly one-third of the state’s population. “I wish I could tell you that I project the Iowa State Fair to grow in attendance, but I think just maintaining these numbers is successful,” Slater said.
Many Iowans who’ve cut back on the number of days they attend the fair, or avoid the fair altogether, cite the cost. Slater said he thinks $8 for an adult advanced ticket is a good deal. “I can’t even go to a movie for $8 anymore where I live and that’s only for one-and-a-half or two hours of entertainment,” Slater said. “Coming to the Iowa State Fair is all-day long. Now, the cost of food and some of that at the Iowa State Fair is higher priced, but I can’t control that. The vendors control that.”
The largest attendance in Iowa State Fair history, 1,109,150, was set in 2008.