June 28, 2016

Mostly cloudy

Rain soaks fair attendance for 10K drop from last year

Fairgoers on the “kite flying” ride get a bird’s eye view of a stunning sunset Friday. (ALEC SMITH / GAZETTE)

Fairgoers on the “kite flying” ride get a bird’s eye view of a stunning sunset Friday. (ALEC SMITH / GAZETTE)

The Band Perry giveth, but the rain taketh away.

Medina County fair board members are blaming cold rainy weather for lower admittance numbers for the fair this year.

Fair director Dave Bertram said attendance figures for Sunday, the last day of the fair, aren’t in yet. But he expected the final tally to be down as much as 10,000 from last year’s total paid attendance of 86,640.

Bertram said The Band Perry drew more than 5,800 fans on Thursday — more than any of the fair’s headliner events in years.

But that didn’t make up for the rain, he said.

“The rain on Monday, Tuesday and Saturday was really the worst hit,” he said. “Saturdays are usually are biggest days.”

The rain Saturday brought the numbers down 5,266 from last year and canceled some events that were new to the fair this year like the BMX show, fair board president Conrad Haneberg said.

“Last year we had really high numbers because the temperature was high 70s, low 80s and it only rained one day,” Bertram said.

Despite the rain, Bertram said wristband pit pass sales were up 1,500 this year, for tractor pulls, derbies and other track events.

Haneberg said e-tickets were also very successful for the grandstand events this year.

“A lot of people were buying their tickets online and we were able to just scan them at the gate,” he said.

Haneberg said the board hopes to improve grandstand signage for next year to try to reduce some of the lines to get in.

He said the four entrances to the grandstand don’t all have the proper signs which led to people all standing in one line at the main gate for events this year.

Haneberg said the board is also looking into paving the ground in front of the grandstand for people with disabilities.

“It’s all gravel and not very accessible,” he said. “We also want to increase the seating for people with disabilities because there’s just not enough for the community.”

Contact reporter Katie Anderson at (330) 721-4012 or kanderson@medina-gazette.com.

Katie Anderson About Katie Anderson

Katie Anderson covers Medina County government and the city of Wadsworth. She has been with The Gazette since July 2014. Contact her at (330) 721-4012 or via email at kanderson@medina-gazette.com.