Fair attendance flattens despite moderate weather

About 83,000 people attended this year's Jackson County Fair, 2,000 more than last year, Fair Director Dave Koellermeier said Wednesday.

Pleasant weather and big-name acts helped draw crowds early in the week, but attendance dropped when temperatures topped 90 degrees Saturday and Sunday, he said.

Overall, Koellermeier said, he considered the fair to be "flat" compared with last year, though revenue figures weren't yet available.

Headline concerts, which this year weren't included in fair admission, sold about 10,000 tickets total, Koellermeier said.

Weather overall was more moderate this year than during most fairs, when temperatures typically hit three digits. Highs for most of the week were in the 80s.

"The weather was excellent, but if it was a factor, attendance should have been better," Koellermeier said. "Our two hottest days had the lowest attendance."

The bulk of the fair's attendance, 61 percent, came Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, when headline acts included Big Time Rush, Clay Walker and Joan Jett and the Blackhearts. The next two concert nights featured multiple acts performing in a country music festival and a blues festival.

The opening-day act, Big Time Rush, was a sold-out show.

Koellermeier said charging extra for concerts was necessary to make up for the costs of booking bigger-name acts.

"To recoup the costs of those major acts, you need to recover it in ticket pricing," he said.

Koellermeier said this year's fair brought with it lessons, and that organizers may make some changes next year.

"This is going to be an important week for determining what worked and what didn't work," he said.

Koellermeier said features such as a toddler zone and a free dinner stage were successful in bringing in younger families who may have been coming to the fair for the first time.

He also praised the workers and organizers of the fair.

"From a manager's perspective, I'm awed by the volunteers in the organization and what they accomplished this year," Koellermeier said.

Mat Wolf is a reporting intern from the University of Oregon. Reach him at 541-776-4481 or email mwolf@mailtribune.com.

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