High attendence at state fair

October 19, 2009 5:09:17 AM PDT
Thousands of people filled the fairgrounds in Raleigh on Saturday, so it appears the recession isn't keeping people away from the state fair, and the cold weather didn't stop people either. The temperatures on Friday and Saturday were in the 50’s and no sun was in sight. But the cold didn't stop residents like Terry Prichard from attending.

“It’s a little nippy, yeah. A little cooler than it was yesterday,” Prichard said.

Despite a chilly climate, fair officials said they had their best Friday in five years this year. More than 60,000 people came out to the fair Friday.

“This is good fair weather. It’s cool so people can put a jacket on and come out and enjoy,” Agricultural Commissioner Steve Troxler said. “Today, I don’t what today’s attendance is going to be but it’s been very very good.”

Prichard is a loyal state fair attendee.

“We’ve been coming for thirty two years and only missed one year,” he said.

He wore his warmest gear to prepare for Saturday’s cold temperatures. Heavy jackets were a common theme throughout the fairgrounds. More than 100,000 people went to the fair Saturday, an increase from 2008.

“It’s warm. Well, my hands aren’t,” one fair attendee said.

Fair officials say they had their best year in overall attendance back in 2007 right before the recent economic crunch began.

“I think people have lived close to the vest and they’re ready for some entertainment,” Troxler said.

Officials hope to get back on track with attendance numbers this year. They want to break the 2007 record soon.

“If we set an all time attendance record this year, I’ll be the happiest man in town,” Troxler said.

Food vender Cole Thorson just doesn’t want the weather and a bad economy to negatively impact business.

“Our dinner rush is, wasn’t as we hoped it would be but, just hopefully the next day is better,” Thorson said.

The weather is expected to improve and warmer temperatures means sizzling sales for vendors like Thorson.

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