Fair Attendance Sees Dip in Face of Wind, Smoke

Grandstand events were down about 3,500 overall when compared to last year

By Beacon Staff

The 114th Northwest Montana Fair weathered smoke, windstorms, and rain during its Aug. 18-23 run, and still boasted an attendance of nearly 75,000 people.

According to stats from Flathead County fair manager Mark Campbell, 74,924 people attended events and visited exhibits this year, down 2.35 percent from last year’s fair week.

Grandstand events were down about 3,500 overall when compared to last year, with 14,904 people attending six nights of programs this year compared to 18,358 in 2014.

Campbell also noted that the carnival rides saw an 8 percent decrease in sales, despite prices having remained constant for the last three years. He attributed the decrease to the heavy smoke that blanketed the valley due to wildfire activity.

The 4H and FFA members who raised and showed their livestock were well compensated, Campbell said, with some of the highest prices per pound and a new high total of revenues recorded.

Overall, Campbell said he was happy with how smoothly the fair went, even with the decreased attendance.

“I thought it went very well, considering there’s always some challenges that you really can’t do much with, like the smoke and the wind and dust storm,” Campbell said. “All in all though it was good. This year was smooth, the organization part of it.”

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