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Fair attendance down from last year

Fair attendance down from last year

Attendance and revenues at this year's MontanaFair are beating five-year averages but are slightly lower than last year's record-setting fair.

Through Wednesday, nearly 150,000 people had come to the fair, nearly 40,000 fewer people than at the same time last year. MetraPark officials are hoping that a few days of good weather will help the fair end on a high note.

"If you look at the five-year average, we're still up about 15 percent in all areas," said MetraPark comptroller Jodi Klind. "From our record year last year, we're only down 6 percent."

The weekend's storms hurt the start of the fair. Last Friday, the first day of the fair, gate revenues were $25,323, down from $35,255 last year. Since then, gate revenues each day have been close to or slightly ahead of last year's numbers.

It seems that more people are eating at the fair this year. Gross food and drink concessions have totaled $85,105 so far, up 19 percent from $71,554 at this time last year. Other nonfood concessions are up 50 percent and have almost exceeded last year's total sales.

Ticket sales for night shows are at $342,834 so far, with the Kelly Clarkson show on Monday selling just more than $100,000 in tickets. The Trace Adkins concert on Saturday brought in $95,479 in ticket sales.

Carnival revenues are up 22 percent over the five-year average, Klind said. Through Wednesday, gross carnival revenues were $571,037. MetraPark receives 40 percent of that, or $228,415.

Klind said the fair on Thursday would hit the $1 million mark in revenues.

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