Jackson County Fair attendance just shy of record

High gas prices and economic woes didn't stop Southern Oregonians from heading to the Jackson County Fair July 15 to 20.

This year's was one of the highest attended fairs in a while, said Chris Borovansky, manager of the Jackson County Fairgrounds and Exposition Park in Central Point.

A estimated 152,360 people passed through the gates during the fair's six-day run. That is up about 5 percent from last year, Borovansky said. In the past 10 years, attendance ranged from a low of 139,000 to a high of 154,000, making this year's figures just 1,640 admissions, 1 percent, short of a record.

Borovansky said that because the economy is not doing well, people are looking for wallet-friendly entertainment.

"The economy is pretty tough this year, and (the fair) was a value," Borovansky said.

He also said the heat, or lack of it compared to recent years, helped boost attendance. Good weather and good entertainment were a key combination, Borovansky said.

Two evening shows in the Lithia Motors Amphitheater came close to selling out.

The Bob and Tom Comedy All-Stars sold the most reserved tickets at 1,900 Saturday evening, and the Beach Boys sold 1,870 seats Friday. The stage's capacity for reserved seating is 2,000, and open seating was available on the lawn.

Another profitable area of the fair was the midway and carnival rides. The gross profit of ride ticket sales, not including all-you-can-ride wristbands, was $410,000.

—Stacey Barchenger

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