Initial 2021 NC State Fair attendance numbers are lower than 2019

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- The 2021 North Carolina State Fair's still very popular after last year's cancellation caused by coronavirus concerns.

Thousands of people enjoyed great weather, food and fun on Tuesday, Senior Citizen Day.

Jim and Jane Sovine are two of the thousands of fair fans 65 and older who enjoyed free biscuits, coffee and admission.

"We've been going through the food items," said Jane Sovine, "We've been watching your broadcasts and checking out what we need to do today."

That's what fair organizers want to hear, as they acknowledge a drop in attendance this year compared to 2019.

The first days at the fair for 2021 brought 27,209 through the gates on day one, 56,034 on day two and 83,747 on day three. Two years ago, the fair attracted 42,898 on day one, 78,019 day two and 111.438 on day three.

"Some people are just gonna choose that this is not the year for them to visit the fair, and we completely respect that and look forward to welcoming them in 2022," said fair manager G. Kent Yelverton. "But those who are comfortable, those who know what is best for them and what precautions to take for themselves, it's a great time to come to the fair!"

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People with something to sell at the fair are also rooting for a successful season this year. The owners of Spicer Sauces traveled from the small town of Denton to Raleigh with plenty of their products for potential customers.

"We have a barbecue sauce company, so the wintertime gets slow on us. So this right here helps carry us through," said Chris Scott. "The first day was slow, so we were very worried about it on Thursday of last week. But Friday it picked up, and Saturday and yesterday, it was wide open!"

Now the Scotts and others with a stake in a successful state fair hope attendance numbers will heat up between now and the final night this weekend.

"All the things that you expect at the North Carolina State Fair are here and waiting for visitors," Yelverton said.
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