Nebraska State Fair says attendance numbers down for 2018

(NTV News)

Attendance numbers were down at the Nebraska State Fair for 2018 compared to 2017, according to audited results released Friday. Total attendance for 2018 was 314,805 compared to 379,108 in 2017.

“Although it takes a bit of additional time to get the Fair’s results tallied and verified by an independent, third party auditor, we are pleased to share this information with Nebraska because, quite frankly, it’s their Fair," said Executive Director for the State Fair Lori Cox.

Cox added that the State Fair team is committed to transparency and accountability.

“We also want to thank the community, Grand Island Chamber of Commerce, and the city of Grand Island for their tremendous support,” she said. “It has helped make the Fair successful over the years, and it’s what will help us thrive moving forward.”

Cox noted that the strong working relationship with Fonner Park proved to be invaluable during the multitude of weather challenges this year. While overall attendance was lower than in 2017, other key measures of success, were higher.

“As we anticipated the close of this year’s Fair, attendance was down a bit, given the record rainfall we experienced for the first time since moving to Grand Island in 2010. Despite this, other key measures of success made important gains. We plan to build upon all of these factors moving forward,” Cox said.

“The Board is excited about the growth we saw in other measurable areas. For example, in a year when we were forced to move or cancel events because of weather conditions, it’s generally counter intuitive to see customer satisfaction continue to grow – yet it did. Lori Cox and her team responded professionally with public safety in mind, took care of our exhibitors, guests and partners, and showed us that they’re the right folks to build on the Fair’s momentum well into the future,” said chairman of the Nebraska State Fair Board Chris Kircher.

Following are the audited results of the 2018 Nebraska State Fair compared to 2017 when applicable:

Total Attendance for 2018: 314,805

2017: 379,108

Tickets Sold at Gate for 2018: 257,615

2017: 295,774

Highest Attended Day: Sat. Aug.25 2018: 43,992

Sat. Aug. 26, 2017: 62,954

Tickets Sold at Pump & Pantry 2018: 6,325

Average Number of Days Attended 2018: 2.97

2017: 2.10

Overall Guest Experience (Scale 1-5, 5 Tops) 2018: 4.34

2017: 4.25

Attendees Traveling More than 75 miles 2018: 41%

2017: 36%

Advance Carnival Sales Increase over 2017: 86%

Nebraska’s Largest Classroom 2018: 3,167

2017: 3,408

Marching Bands 2018: 4,021

2017: 4,030

4-H & FFA Youth 2018: 2,796

2017: 2,704

Volunteers 2018: 670

2017: 750

Draft Horse Shows 2018: 4,389

2017: 3,402

Livestock Entries Open Class 2018: 4,968

2017: 4,797

4-H Livestock Entries 2018: 2,695

2017: 2,624

FFA Livestock Entries 2018: 1,536

2017: 1,502

4-H Static Exhibits 2018: 717

2017: 356

Sponsorship Revenue Increase over 2017: 16%


Kelly Clarkson 2018:3,500

2017: Brad Paisley 6,000

Sugarland 2018: 3,300

2017: Pentatonix 12,800

Righteous Brothers 2018: 5,100

2017: Ronnie Milsap 5,000

Francesca Battistelli 2018: 3,000

2017: For King and Country 4,100

Old Dominion 2018: 4,100

2017: Lynyrd Skynrd 3,400

Up With People 2018: 1,100

2017: Joan Jett & The Blackhearts 3,300

Night Ranger 2018: 1,200

2017: Cole Swindell 4,400

Results were audited by BKD in Lincoln.

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