Fair Attendance Increases Despite Rain

Grandstand events drew 7 percent more attendees than last year

By Molly Priddy

Despite a week of soggy weather, the Northwest Montana Fair experienced solid visitation numbers this year, with increases in attendance at the gates and in grandstand event ticket sales.

Nearly 77,000 people visited the Flathead County Fairgrounds throughout fair week, which ran from Aug. 13 to Aug. 17, according to county fairgrounds manager Mark Campbell.

That’s an increase of nearly 2 percent over the previous year, and while it’s a modest percentage, it’s remarkable given the rain, lightning and thunder that blew in that week, he said.

Total grandstand event attendance was 18,594 for six nights of programs, which included two concerts, three nights of rodeo, and a demolition derby. This is a 7 percent increase over the 2013 numbers, Campbell said.

Country singer Chris Young brought in over 3,000 fans for his concert, and 299 contestants entered various competitions in the Don K RAM PRCA Rodeo.

And while the grandstand events provided dynamic entertainment, the mainstay of the fair – the exhibits – continued to draw visitors from all over. There were 8,009 items entered for display to the public from 1,012 exhibitors, many of them 4H members or community members who worked for months preparing their entries.

Campbell also noted that the Junior Livestock Auction brought in some of the highest prices per pound and a new high total of revenues recorded for the participants.

“While it’s still early for detailed reports of the many different program components, we wish to share our sincere appreciation to everyone involved that made this year’s fair such a safe, positive, and exciting event. Each year the community comes together with hundreds of groups and individuals putting forth thousands of hours to make the fair happen,” Campbell said in a prepared statement.

Planning for the 2015 Northwest Montana Fair is already in the works; it will take place Aug. 19 through Aug. 23.

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