State fair attendance down slightly from 2012

Written by Observer staff September 05, 2013 01:57 pm
SALEM — Preliminary State Fair attendance figures are in, and the estimated total is 196,814, or 5.6 percent below 2012's total of 208,392.
This year's fair was slightly warmer than 2012, and Salem's weather station recorded rain on five days between Aug. 23 and Sept. 2, but paid concerts account for the single largest difference between 2012 and 2013. More than 35,000 people purchased tickets for 2013 concerts with no sell-out events, versus around 53,000 with one sell-out in 2012. Public participation in arts and crafts competitions was up over 2012, in some cases by 50 percent.

"I'm proud of our staff for putting on a quality, clean event," says Oregon State Fair manager Toni Payseno. "But I think people do expect big events like this to grow and change over time, and that's something that will be more within reach thanks to the Legislature's action earlier this year."

The 2013 Oregon Legislative Assembly passed a law in 2013 to transform the state fair and exposition center into a public corporation, giving it more flexibility to create new programs and services, control costs, and form creative partnerships with businesses and nonprofits. A team is working on the transition to help establish the corporation by 2015.