That’s according to Fair Board president Tom Collopy. He says the weather and some changes made have made for attendance being better than past years — which, of course, means more revenue both for the fair and its vendors.
Collopy tells WGIL going to a four-day fair instead of five certainly helped the situation.
“Five days kind of grinds on people,” Collopy said. “Four days is one day shorter, which doesn’t seem that much, but it’s 20 percent shorter. I think it’s just a better, more successful event.”
Collopy says he’ll know next year if the four-day run really works or not, which he says can be dependent on the weather. Collopy tells WGIL some other changes like moving the beer garden inside the Merchants Building also seemed to do well.
“I thought it was going to be a huge plus,” said Collopy. “We changed our old beer garden into kind of an entertainment center. We [had] entertainment every night…free entertainment. We’re trying to provide more free things for people to see once you get on the fairgrounds. We’ve had a couple bands. We’ve got the gospel show.”
Collopy says the plan is to use the former outdoor beer garden area during non-fair times for things like weddings and family reunions.
He says fairs that are in financial trouble don’t need to spend big money on big acts and other events — free or low-cost events will draw people in.
Grandstand events like last night’s demolition derby and the monster truck rally earlier in the week also were well-attended, Collopy believes.