Numbers up at 4-H Fair despite slow start

Despite a dismal start attendance for the 2013 Elkhart County 4-H Fair is up through Monday, the latest day with available numbers.

Posted on July 23, 2013 at 1:00 a.m. | Updated on July 23, 2013 at 4:10 p.m.

GOSHEN — Despite a dismal start to the 2013 Elkhart County 4-H Fair, solid attendance numbers through Monday were 10,000 people higher than last year at the same point and nearly 7,000 higher than the same point in 2011.

Friday’s attendance of just more than 16,000 people was one of the smallest days the fair has seen in a long time, but Saturday started to catch up, according to numbers provided by the fair office Tuesday, July 23.

Sunday’s numbers aren’t tracked since it’s a free admission day, and fair organizers estimate them based on the attendance on the Thursday of the fair, which is tractor-pull day, but Sunday saw solid crowds, and Monday’s tally of more than 39,000 people more than made up for the heat-induced slow start.

“That’s really strong for a Monday,” said Robin Haag, the fair’s office manager.

Nisley said Monday’s lines for admission tickets and to get in the gate were the largest she’s seen in four years of volunteering at the fair. “I couldn’t believe how long they were,” she said.

With the weather expected to remain cool for the rest of the fair, attendance numbers should stay strong — especially in light of a sold-out Hunter Hayes concert Wednesday, July 24, then tractor pull on Thursday, the two rodeo performances Friday and the wildly popular demolition derby on Saturday, the final evening of the fair.

Tim Yoder, who oversees food concessions, said through Monday evening, “oh, yeah. They’ve bounced back” in terms of sales. “Now, we dug a hole, but we’re making up for it.”

Crowds got so large for Monday’s Florida Georgia Line concert that Verizon was overwhelmed and unable to maintain service for the grounds, which then overwhelmed the fair’s wi-fi coverage, according to Kristy Ambrosen, marketing manager for the fair.

That could be a problem again Wednesday evening with the combination of kids day and the Hunter Hayes show.

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