State fair says farewell for another year
Vendors say ticket price hike could have affected business at Harrington
Delaware State Fair Assistant General Manager Danny Aguilar says attendance was steady at the 94th annual event in Harrington.
Written by, Doug Denison--The News Journal
Jul. 27, 2013
HARRINGTON — Despite the oppressive heat that scorched its grounds last weekend, officials said attendance was steady at this year’s Delaware State Fair. But, some fair vendors who saw diminished profits blamed it on a ticket price hike instituted this year.
The fair wrapped up its 94th year Saturday, and though final gate figures and ticket sales won’t be in for a few more days, Assistant General Manager Danny Aguilar is optimistic about the results.
“Entertainment dictates larger crowds, the day of the week dictates crowds, ride promotions, and the ultimate fact, always, is weather,” he said. “At the beginning of the week our numbers were impacted by the heat. But [Friday] we were up and we are looking at 84-degree temperatures and low humidity, a great way to end the fair.”
Aguilar said the fair’s biggest draw this year was country singer Luke Bryan, who played to a sold-out crowd on the fair’s opening Thursday night. Bryan was scheduled to appear last year but canceled at the last minute, committing to return in 2013.
Some of this year’s kid-friendly shows brought in less than stellar numbers, Aguilar said, including tween pop star Victoria Justice, who performed the first Saturday night of the fair.
“We didn’t quite hit the mark we were expecting,” Aguilar said.
Visitors to the Delaware State Fair relax near some food vendors on Saturday.
GARY EMEIGH/THE NEWS JOURNAL
Some fair vendors also missed their marks last week.
“It was down, way down, and I personally blame it on the prices going up,” said Don Chambers, a past governor of the Harrington Moose Lodge who helps run the group’s food stall at the fair. “I think some guys are saying, ‘Well, do I go to work this week and put gas in the truck, or do I take the kids to the fair?’ I don’t know.”
General admission to the fair this year was $8, up from the $6 it had been for the last seven years.
Chambers and others also said the heat was a factor during the fair’s opening days.
“If it would have been up to me I would have stayed home in my recliner,” he said.
Not all vendors reported a slow week.
Henry Towner, in his ninth year of selling fresh kettle corn at the fair, said this year would probably end up being his second best in Delaware (last year was his record.)