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  • Maryland State Fair Attendance up 20% over 2016
    9/19/2017
    The 2017 Maryland State Fair set the record for third-best attendance ever. The Maryland State Fair team attributes much of their attendance-based success to the new "Let Summer Be Summer" campaign led by Maryland Governor Larry Hogan and Comptroller Peter Franchot. This campaign mandated that schools return after Labor Day: allowing Maryland families to spend their last week of summer at the Maryland State Fair which runs through Labor Day. "Despite two days of rain, our Fair attendance report shows a 20 percent increase since last year with 555,841 guests and exhibitors who graced our grounds during 12 days of the Maryland State Fair, the third best attendance on record," says Maryland State Fair Assistant General Manager, Becky Brashear.

    Admission into the Maryland State Fair is $8 for adults, $6 for seniors (62 and over), $3 for children (6-11), and children 5 and under are free. Admission does not include ride tickets but the Maryland State Fair in conjunction with Deggeller Attractions, provided several advanced sale ride ticket discount opportunities. Advanced admission, rides, and food tickets were available to be purchased no later than August 18th. Fair guests could "fare better" by purchasing a $100 minimum of any combination of admission tickets, ride wristbands, or food coupons. The Maryland State Fair also offered a Preview Night with "RIDEMANIA" on Thursday, August 24th from 5pm-11pm. Fairgoers could purchase an admission and ride wristband for $20 or a walk around admission ticket for $1. $25 unlimited ride wristbands were available Monday-Thursday of the fair and $27 wristbands were available on Labor Day. Weekend wristbands could be purchased in advance only. $5 off ride all rides wristband coupons were sold at Food Lion.

    In addition to the carnival midway provided by Deggeller Attractions, the Maryland State Fair provided lots of entertainment for families and guests to enjoy. On the first weekend of the fair, two concerts took place at the infield of the Maryland State Fair racetrack. Rock band Halestorm took the stage on Friday, August 25th. Tickets were $40 for festival standing admission and $50 for pit standing admission. On Saturday, August 26th, Disney star Sabrina Carpenter was the headline act and Youtube star Alex Aiono opened for her. Again, tickets were $40 for standing general admission and $50 for pit standing admission. 

    This year, the fair also featured the Swifty Swine Racing and Swimming Pig Show everyday throughout the fair. Shows took place five times per day: 12:30pm, 2:30pm, 4:30 pm, 6:30pm, and 8:00pm. Another unique opportunity for family entertainment at the 2017 Maryland State Fair is thoroughbred horse racing with wagering. For 2017's fair, there were 7 days of racing with purses of $185,000 daily, up more than 16% from 2016. This year, the meet had an added money event: the $75,000 guaranteed (plus $25,000 for Maryland-Bred/Maryland-Sired) Coalition Stakes for 3 year olds and up going 6 1/2 furlongs, with an additional $10,000 bonus to the winner if it is a Fasig-Tipton Midatlantic Sale graduate. The stakes are a reflection of cooperation between the Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association, the Maryland Horse Breeders Association, the Maryland State Fair and Agricultural Society, and the Fasig-Tipton Sales Company. " This cooperative effort between all the parties involved in this race meet is a reflection of the continued team spirit in Maryland that has been such a huge factor in the renaissance of Maryland's  thoroughbred industry is currently enjoying. It's all part of making racing in Maryland great again. We are all really excited about the upcoming meet at Timonium," says Andy Cashman, General Manager of the Maryland State Fair. Races took place August 25th-Sepetember 4th.

    The Maryland State Fair also hosted the state championship of amateur arm wrestling on Saturday, September 2nd on the Carolina Carport Free Stage. All competitors who won a match received national rankings and local bragging rights. All competitors that reach the quarter-finals received special seeding into the Grand Finale at the Arizona State Fair in October. There were 5 men's divisions: Featherweight (under 144), Lightweight (145-169), Middleweight (170-193), Light Heavyweight (194-219), and Heavyweight (220 and above). There were 2 women's classes: lightweight (144 and under), and open division (above 145).

    Educational opportunities to learn more about agriculture are a big part of the Maryland State Fair. The Innovation Station...STEM Growing With You featured The Butterfly Encounter, The Agriculture Planetarium, and a Ethanol Remote Car Race Track. Another great opportunity for fairgoers to learn about agriculture is the U-Learn Farm which features a variety of fun and educational hands-on activities and exhibits such as a reading nook, and a Q&A session with local farmers. The fair also featured a birthing center, giving fair guests the opportunity to watch the births of calves and piglets.

    The 2017 Maryland State Fair Livestock Sale was a special one. Four 4-Hers shared some of the proceeds of their livestock sales with the Kaisy Knott medical fund; Daisy Knott is a fellow 4-H member who is fighting childhood cancer. Kaylie Shelton sold her 1364 pound Grand Champion Market Steer for $15,004; Mickinzi Ferguson sold her 284 pound Grand Champion Market Hog for $3,976; Tate Bittner sold his 74 pound Grand Champion Market Goat for $800 and his 139 pound Grand Champion Market Lamb for $1,399. 

    One of the best parts of the state fair is the food! The Maryland State Fair was the site of a new world record. Goetze's Candy Company announced that they would be setting an all new world's record at the Maryland State Fair with the largest Cow Tales ever recorded. Their goal was to create a Cow Tales that measured approximately 10 feet in length. The giant candy was featured the front of the Bulk Candy Store inside the Exhibition Hall. Pieces of the record setting Cow Tales were sold the last few days of the fair with all proceeds going to the Maryland State Fair Scholarship Fund.

    The Maryland Foods Pavilion featured pulled pork sundaes, fried green tomatoes, and other Maryland favorites back by popular demand. Fair guests could watch daily cooking demonstrations and delicious samples of fresh popped kettle corn in the display area. "The Maryland Foods Pavilion has been one of the greatest successes. Hundreds of people have told me that it is the main attraction that keeps them coming back to the Maryland State Fair. And, it is always their first stop for a great meal," says Chairman Stan Dabkowski. 

  • 150th Nebraska State Fair Reaches New Highs
    9/15/2017
    The 2017 Nebraska State Fair saw a 5% attendance increase from 2016; 361,107 people visited the fair in 2016 and 379,108 people came to the fair in 2017. 

    According to Nebraska State Fair General Manager, Joseph McDermott, the 2017 state fair was focused on celebrating the 150th birthday of the state of Nebraska. Guests at the Nebraska State Fair enjoyed plenty of food, fun, and entertainment making it one of the best Nebraska State Fairs yet. 

    Regular, adult admission into the Nebraska State fair is $12 per person and children are $3 a person. The fair also offers a season pass gate admission for $55: a ticket that allows one person one entry for all 11 days of the fair. 

    There were also several admission special days where fair guests could come to the Nebraska State Fair at a discounted rate. On Monday, August 28th and Wednesday, August 30th, adult gate admission was $5. The fair also featured Two Dollar Tuesday on August 29th; on that day, adult and gate admission was $2 and rides were $2 each.  Lastly, $3 Thursday on August 31st permitted adults and children to enter the fair for just $3. Providing a season pass for admission and discounted rates throughout the weekdays of the fair made attending the Nebraska State Fair more affordable for families, helping increase attendance.

    The first weekend of the 2017 Nebraska State Fair had two, large outdoor concerts. The opening weekend concerts featured Brad Paisley and Pentatonix. 

    According to McDermott, both concerts were a huge success; "Our outdoor concert venue holds about 13,000 people and Pentatonix sold just about 13,000 tickets," says McDermott. After opening weekend, the concerts move to the indoor venue. Performers such as King And Country, Lynard Skynyrd, Joan Jett, and Cole Swindell drew big crowds and kept the energy consistent throughout the fair. Tickets are required for the MainStage concerts and all groups featured this year sold very well according to McDermott. 

    In addition to main stage concerts, the Nebraska State Fair featured a draft horse hitch show on August 25th, 26th, and 27th as well as a draft horse pull on September 1st. Tickets tot he horse hitch/pull cost $5 per person. There were several grounds acts for families to enjoy free with admission at this year's fair. A BMX freestyle stunt show, Dan Dan the Farmer Man, racing pigs, the Great American Duck Races, and Sinbad High Dive Show were just a few of the acts guests could enjoy on the fairgrounds. When asked how the fair decides which entertainment acts to book each year, McDermott says, "We try to mix it up. Dan Dan the Farmer Man, the duck races, and the high dive show are new but there are some favorites we bring back from year to year."

    Wade Shows provides the carnival midway for the Nebraska State Fair. This year, Wade Shows brought a great variety of rides from super spectacular attractions to family rides for the whole family. Gary Zaitshik, Wade Shows' Chief Operating Officer, felt that this was a great year for both Wade Shows and the Nebraska State Fair in general. "We had really nice weather throughout the fair with the exception of one storm that rolled through the fairgrounds in the middle of the night," says Zaitshik. 

    The wind speed of the storm caused the Wade Shows office top to come off and blew down some ride fencing and privacy screening put up by the Wade Shows team. Zaitshik and other members of the Wade Shows crew were able to take a few hours and reset the equipment to where it needed to be before the fair even opened. 

    Some of the more popular attractions provided by Wade Shows were the Super Cyclone roller coaster, the Street Fighter 360, and the Giant Ferris Wheel. "The Giant Wheel was very popular with families. It is in a great location and anyone riding it can see most of the fairgrounds while on the wheel and get a really cool lay of the land," says Zaitshik. 

    The Sky Tram was also popular with Nebraska State Fair guests. This year, Wade Shows featured a ride all day wristband exclusively for the sky tram for just $10. According to Zaitshik, this was a successful promotion and something they will definitely consider continuing in the future. 

    Zaitshik also mentioned that Wade Shows offers Mega Passes and unlimited ride wristbands at a discounted rate in advance of the fair. The advanced sales (especially the Mega Pass) are very popular with customers and the advance sale seems to increase year to year according to Zaitshik. "The Nebraska State Fair does a great job; there is plenty to see and do here. We have a great partnership with Joseph McDermott and his team we work very well together and as The Nebraska State Fair grows, Wade Shows grows with it," says Zaitshik.

    4-H and FFA groups have a strong presence at the Nebraska State Fair. In fact, 4-H and FFA have their own building on the fairgrounds which features domestic exhibits for competitions in fine arts, foods, needlework, photography, and many more. 

    "Livestock dominates the second weekend of the fair," says McDermott. However, livestock was certainly pervasive throughout the entire fair. Opening weekend featured draft horses, dairy cattle, sheep, boer goats, llamas, alpacas, Texas Longhorns, dairy goats, and open class poultry and waterfowl in the fair's new livestock barns. 

    Part of the livestock sections included informational signs and displays for guests to learn more about different cattle breeds, sheep, swine, and rabbits. The exhibits also featured Nebraska's largest steer and boar. A birthing pavilion gave guests the opportunity to view the birth of new animals at the fair and the milking parlor hosted milking demonstrations daily. 

    A unique feature in the livestock portion of the Nebraska State Fair are the cattle dog performances which took place on Monday and Tuesday of the fair. The performing dogs are trained to work cattle on a ranch. Dogs compete against one another for prizes and The Nebraska State Fair has become the premier Cattle Dog Trial in the country. Labor Day Weekend was particularly busy for the livestock areas of the fair. 4-H and FFA competitions in beef, sheep, swine, goats, poultry, and rabbits took place that weekend.

    McDermott says that a majority of the fair's advertising is digital these days. "We moved from Lincoln to Grand Island 8 years ago and make sure we continue to advertise to the entire state," says McDermott. The digital advertising is housed in a massive social media campaign mainly on Facebook and Twitter. The fair keeps people updated through posts and also hosts contests to give away admission and concert tickets to people who enter. In addition to digital advertising, the Nebraska State Fair invests in tv, radio, and some newspaper advertising. 

    The Nebraska State Fair generates about 50% of their budget from fair revenues and the other 50% comes from proceeds received from the Nebraska lottery. 

    McDermott, having been in his position for 9 years relies on his full-time staff of 12 people and his team of 800-1000 volunteers who give about 12,000 hours of their time to make the Nebraska State Fair a success. "We focus on good value and customer service. These two things are very critical to a good fair experience and our volunteer program does a great job of providing that to our customers," says McDermott.

  • Building Improvements, Layout Changes and a Social Media Booth Highlight Mississippi Valley Fair
    9/13/2017
    For his first Mississippi Valley Fair as general manager, Shawn Loter implemented a few seemingly small but very significant changes to the fair, including facelifts to all the buildings and fairgrounds, repositioning key tents and creating a special social media center that engaged fairgoers.

    The initiatives created a curiosity among the community, which may have helped boost attendance. But the driving goal was to fuse new life into the fair as well as year-round business for the fairgrounds.  " We changed a lot of things, just to freshen up the fair, because people had been seeing the same thing for the last 10 years," he said. "I think some people came just to see what we were doing. But we are doing a good business year-round and we are growing that business. We rent out buildings all year, with flea markets, weekly bingo games."

    Fairground Upgrades 
    The upgrade program included remodeling the 100-year old, 50-foot twin, archway towers that are the main gate of the fairgrounds, painting and other upgrades to every one of the 15 buildings on the grounds, ranging from exhibition facilities to cattle barns.  New landscaping as well as asphalt and other street work was completed throughout the grounds. 

    Upgrades to the fairgrounds may help both the fair and the year-round value of the property, but the makeover didn't stop there. Loter redesigned the layout of the fair by repositioning tents and canopies for the actual event. The tents were mainly entertainment tents, ranging from regional and local bands to a range of grounds acts, including a tiger and elephant shows, a Lumber Jack show and a puppet show. 

    Repositioning the tents accomplished several objectives, especially the sense of change for change sake, as least as when it comes to appearance. "You cannot be doing the same thing year in and year out; people get used to it and don't want to come back. You want to keep things different."

    Loter also added educational exhibitions and attractions, ranging from new agricultural education programs to a robotics demonstration.

    Repositioning the tents improved pedestrian traffic flow, bringing attention and attendees to different areas of the fair, benefitting other exhibits and concessionaires. Loter also added a few new grounds acts - such as the lumberjack show -- which created fairgoer excitement. "I added a bunch of new acts, and my goal is to change the acts. Some acts will stay, people will always come for certain shows, but others we need to change them, which keeps people interested." 

    Social Media Booth 
    Another new addition by Loter for his freshmen year at the helm of this Iowa tradition was an innovative combination of the actual fairgrounds with the virtual world of social media. Social media of course is crucial to the fair's marketing program, but the Social Media Booth was an interactive center located on the grounds.  Where many fairs conduct contests on Facebook and other social media platforms, Loter brought that contest promotion to the grounds with the Social media Booth, which hosted different contests -   participants could win everything from tickets to meet & greets with the fair's headliners to the iconic fair food staple, corn dogs. 

    Winners were decided by the spin of a wheel located at the booth throughout the day, each contest being promoted on Facebook, the actual spin of the wheel covered on Facebook live. Once at the booth, contestants became followers on Facebook, as well as Twitter and Instagram. The ongoing contests at the Social Media Booth increased the fair's social media followers by more than 15 percent. Not only did the Social Media Booth expand the marketing audience of the fair, it promoted things like a corn dog vendor in real time at the fair. "Anytime you can give away stuff you get more people," he said. 

    The Mississippi Valley Fair has an advertising budget of approximately $250,000, consistent with last year, said Loter. The bulk of the expenditure is towards TV and Radio. "One of our major papers jumped up their advertising rates by 40 percent," said Loter, leading to less print advertising and shifting those funds to digital media. The Mississippi Valley Fair has its own jingle, "American Way to Play," which has long been used as a soundtrack to its commercial advertising. 

    The fair also featured a corn dog eating contest, determining how fast 10 corn dogs could be eaten, for a prize of $500. The winning time was 5 minutes, 20 seconds resulting in  a tie and the winners split the prize money. 

    The fair averages about 40 food vendors, according to Loter, and its fair cuisine is generally traditional, which in addition to corn dogs, includes pizza, pull-pork sandwiches and turkey legs "turkey legs are the biggest sellers," he said. 

    The most popular new food vendors this year was a "new Mexican restaurant," he said. The most exciting new food time was a "wonder stick" ice cream cone," which he described as ice cream but "in a weird shaped cone." 

    Attendance Uptick
    Attendance at the fair was 295,000, about 4,000 more than last year. "The weather held up, it was very cool, which probably hurt beer sales,' he said. "Beer sells better when it's hot, but the weather was very comfortable. 
     
    Return visitors are key to the Mississippi Valley Fair's business strategy. The fair features a stellar line up of stars, which this year include Dustin Lynch, John Mellencamp, Randy Houser and Lynyrd Skynyrd, which due to a medical emergency, had to cancel days before their show. They were replaced by Vince Neil of Motley Crue. 

    The fair offers a once price admission deal - the Fun Card, where fairgoers can attend concerts each night of the six day fair. Fun Cards are priced at the bargain rate of $55, then a month before the fair, they jump to $60.

    Loter is committed to both headline entertainment and the fun card concept, but the challenges of rising costs and competition and other issues related to fair entertainment continue to bedevil the fair. 

    "The big names drag their feet in committing to the state," he said. "We are the only fair with the Fun Card, but we need a few big names to tie into marketing by December first or second, so people can give the Fun Cards as Christmas presents. We want to keep the Fun Card affordable, we set a budget and we are already looking for acts. But it is a little harder, and it can be difficult, and it really becomes a waiting game." 

    Evan's United Shows is the carnival company for the Mississippi Valley Fair, with a midway of about 30 rides. Loter said that the midway provider introduced a new Chicago Loop ride. However, in spite of the significant attendance increase, "the carnival was down this year, because of the incident in Ohio," said Loter, referring to the Fireball accident during the Ohio State Fair that resulted in a fatality. "That just scared people across the board, and I think they stayed away from the carnival because of it," he said. "I was interviewed about the safety of the rides at our fair constantly, so we got a lot of coverage and I was able to explain that we are a safe fair and all the precautions we take, but it hurt this year's midway."

    Loter is a 29-year veteran of the 98-year-old Mississippi State Fair, and prior to his promotion he held the position of Maintenance Manager. The fair conducted an executive search before selecting Loter, deciding that an internal move would serve the best interests of the fair.  Upon his announcement, the local press quoted Mile Vondran, board president, Mississippi Valley Fair Board: "Shawn has been a member of our fairgrounds family since the age of 13,''. "He truly loves the fair and all its heritage. He is an outstanding young man and the perfect person to take us past our century mark.''

    Loter said that for his first fair as general manager, "I made the transition smoothly. The biggest change is that instead of being responsible for the maintenance crew, I'm in charge of a few hundred people."

    The Mississippi Valley Fair is one of the biggest of the Midwest "county" fair and has a 100 year anniversary fair looming, further heightening expectations, but Loter is looking forward to even further changes for 2018. "We need more daytime activity to bring in the families. We are a night time fair, that's when we get our biggest crowds, and they're a night time crowd. We are working towards bringing in more families during the day." 

  • Despite a Tornado, Erie County Fair Rebounds
    9/11/2017
    In one of the biggest year to year jumps in attendance for any county fair, the 178th Erie County Fair in Hamburg, New York increased attendance 21 percent. While the year to year to jump is remarkable, which made it the 2nd largest fair in its history, what seems equally remarkable is that a day before the fair, a rare but destructive tornado wreaked havoc on the fairgrounds.

    According to local news reports, an extreme thunderstorm caused two tornados to form with the one in Hamburg being rated an "EF2", with wind speeds of 105 MPH.
     
    Tornado Publicity
    According to Spectrum News: "The Erie County Fairgrounds and adjacent Buffalo Raceway in Hamburg sustained serious damage. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo traveled west to tour damage at the fairgrounds, set to host the popular Erie County Fair in less than one month..."Mother Nature likes to test us...," said Cuomo, D-New York. "The tornadoes were a high-level test, I think we graduated to the next level of testing by Mother Nature, but Buffalo and Erie County are ready for it and can handle it."
    "We were certainly challenged with the fair," said Denny Lang, CFE, CEO/Fair Manager, and Erie County Agricultural Society. 

    The damage to the fairgrounds was extensive, and the work crews worked feverishly to clean up the mess. The reaction was as soon as possible. The tornado ran its path through the grounds around 12:30 pm, and by 2:00 pm, staff was planning strategy around a white board and cleaning crews were organized. The response may have been effective and comprehensive, but as Marty Biniasz, Marketing Manager, Erie County Agricultural Society, points out, cleanup is actually something fairs do best. "In mere hours after the Tornado hit, we had contractors on the property cleaning up. We're accustomed to cleaning up, 75 percent of what we do is clean up, we have to clean up every day of the fair for the next day and after the final day of the fair, we have to cleanup to have an event the following day." 

    By opening day, while some landscape damage and a "bent up" main gate were still visible, the fair was ready. According to John Strates of James E. Strates Shows, the tornado "did not affect us at all, the fair had a big job and by the time we arrived, everything was ready," he said. "We had some equipment come by truck, then train, and then more equipment by truck, but by the time we got there the fairgrounds were all squared away. That particular fair has a tremendous crew working for them, from top management down to the groundskeeper."

    One upside of the Erie County tornado of 2017 and its landing on the actual Erie County Fairgrounds was the news attention it generated. "We had tremendous news coverage," said Lang. "We had constant television reporters, asking if we were going to be open. They interviewed a lot of people, and we were working seven days a week, 10 - 12 hours a day, to open on time."  

    According to Biniasz, post-tornado, in the weeks leading up to the fair, there were more "than 200 media messages about the fair. This earned media exposed the fair and our rebuilding of the fairgrounds. The media coverage was up and down the East Coast and as far away as Seattle and Los Angeles. We had great national coverage, and amazing regional coverage."

    Severe weather event footage may be a news story with wide interest, but what impressed Biniasz the most was the community outpouring. "There is so much love for this institution in the community." 

    Best 12 Days of Summer
    With the post-Tornado cleanup and the anticipatory hook being the question of if this fair will make opening day saturating the news, the fair's marketing remained concentrated on its perennial message of fair fun, entertainment and attractions. The fair's tagline has been the "Best 12 Days of Summer," a theme coupled with the same logo and color that past five years. "We stayed consistent with the amount we spend and our theme and advertising," said Biniasz. In recent years, electronic billboards have played a bigger role in their advertising and this year, a large factor was website "takeovers," where the websites of radio stations and other media partners would feature only Erie County Fair ads on their homepage. "We do a lot of countdowns in advertising, which builds anticipation."

    Social media, while also part of the countdown strategy, "gave viewers real time experience with the fair. Due to the quantity of earned media, our social media program was a nice counter balance. We engage people on social media with entertainment content and are very aggressive, with eight to 10 different posts a day on social media."

    The final attendance for 2017 was 1,193,279, an estimated 21 percent increase from 2016 and is the second highest attended Fair in the Erie County Fair's history (All-time record achieved in 2014 - 1,220,101). The rebound followed a pattern typical for fairs - a strong year followed a weak year. Last year, a combination of an August heatwave and rain on five days, squelched the turnout. This year, "the weather was fantastic," said Lang. "We had to postpone a tractor pull that was about it."

    Spending was also strong, and according to Lang concession sales were up 8.7 percent, parking revenue up 2.3 percent, and carnival revenue up 17 percent.  Lang pointed out that some of this spending may be due to a healthy economy. Hamburg is technically a suburb of Buffalo, and "Buffalo is rebounding, there's a lot of building and other economic activity." 

    Strates Midway 
    One of the oldest and most revered carnival families, Strates Shows has been providing the Erie County fair carnival since 1924, one of the longest contracts in fair history (an extension to the affiliations will take the partnerships through its centennial at 2024. "The fair is awesome, I'm really happy that we have the longest contractual relationship between carnival and fair. The fair itself is stellar" said Strates.

    He added, "last year we had some weather issues, but this year we had one of highest grossing years at this fair."

    The Strates midway featured 67 rides, a typical footprint for the carnival company at this event. New rides for the fair included a new Elephant Ride, Sizzler and a Fun House.  One significant change to the midway layout was an expansion of the Kiddieland. Strates said that the fairground moved a wall, and that "gave us more room, so we were able to put in more tables and rest areas, we increased the space."

    An important symbol of this multi-decade relationship is the annual arrival of the Strates "Fair Train," which pulls into Hamburg every year, signaling the start of the build-up to the fair. "It's our most visited unloading of the train, and it's a tradition that has gone on there since we started with the fair. It's great advertising for the fair, and is covered by the newspaper and media. I grew up at this fair, and it's great that this tradition is still working." 

    Lang called this year's train arrival one of the best attended, with a crowd of about 1,500. "It always gets people cranked up, everyone will watch the rides and see the fair grow into a little town."

    Actually, the Strates Train day will be one of the many things Lang will miss. Although an official announcement is still forthcoming, Lang told Carnival Warehouse that 2017 will be his last fair and he plans to retire by the end of this year. Lang has been manager for two decades, but his affiliation with the fair actually dates back to 1959 when he first showed horses at the Erie County Fair. "I am proud of the fact that the size of the fair has grown, and between five and seven of our buildings have been revitalized, but the fair still has the same values we've always had, we are still the same county fair we've always been."

    He added, "a fair's success cannot only be measured in people, but in vendors, exhibits, and most importantly, in memories."

    For his swan song year, Lang noted that there were challenges -- the tornado, rebounding from a weak 2016, and even a small fire that broke out at a food stand - "It was important we had a good fair, even though there were a lot of challenges. For my last fair it was very rewarding. "

    Strates praised the tenure of Lang at the helm of the fair, underscoring his feeling that he has been a transformative force for this Empire State summer institution. "What he has done has been unbelievable. From a carnival company's point of view, 20 years ago, we didn't have good water pressure, there wasn't power in the back end and there was no pavement. He changed all that so we could have a better midway. Every issue we have had, he listened and solved it. He's been a pleasure to work with, and we couldn't ask for a better man at the top."







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2016 TOP 50 FAIRS
1. Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo - Houston, TX
2. Texas State Fair - Dallas, TX
3. San Antonio Livestock Show & Ex. - San Antonio, TX
4. Minnesota State Fair - St. Paul, MN
5. San Diego County Fair - Del Mar, CA

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The Industry Buzz
Former Delaware State Fair Manager, Dennis Hazzard passes
MILFORD - On Sept. 3, 2017, Dennis S. Hazzard passed away at The Country Rest Home in Greenwood.

He was born on Nov. 25, 1941, in Milford to Jean and Walter Hazzard.

Dennis graduated from Milford High School in 1959 and began his radio broadcasting career at the local station, WTHD. He then went on to other radio stations including WAFL. Dennis later switched careers to become the Assistant General Manager at the Delaware State Fair. He occupied this position for several years before being appointed General Manager. He retired from this position in 2007.

He was a longtime member of the Board of Directors of the Delaware State Fair. He was also a member of the International Association of Fairs and Expos and the Maryland Association of Agricultural Fairs and Shows.

Dennis enjoyed listening to music, reading and watching movies, especially old movies. He also enjoyed going to Broadway shows and traveling. For several years he conducted bus tours to Nashville, Tenn. for the annual Fanfare.

Dennis is survived by his wife of 48 years, Vivian (nee Wilson); and his two children, Amy Slonacher and her husband Garrette, and Mark Hazzard and his wife Kim. He also leaves behind his beloved grandchildren, Nicholas, Tristan and Brendan Slonacher. Also surviving are brothers, Roy, Walter, Dean and Richard Hazzard; sister, Jill Cohee; and several nieces and nephews.
  Posted by Obituary on 9/11/2017
Minnesota State Fair Sets All Time Attendance Record
The 2017 Minnesota State Fair set record attendance with 1,997,320 people passing through the fairs turnstiles this year, surpassing the previous record of 1,943,719 set in 2016.  The fair broke single day attendance records on Monday, Aug. 28, with 144,504 visitors; Friday, Sept. 1, with 187,066 visitors; and Sunday, Sept. 3, with 242,759 visitors.

New to the fair was the Midway Sky Eye, the USA's largest portable giant wheel owned by Wood Entertainment and Wade Shows.  The new wheel rode over 124,958 passengers at the fair.
  Posted by Matt Cook on 9/8/2017
New York State Fair Sets Attendance Record
In 2016, the New York State Fair set an all time attendance record of 1,117,630 patrons through its gates.  In 2017, the fair shattered that record with an estimated attendance of over 1.3 million visitors.  During the 13 day run, the fair set three daily attendance records including a new record for the largest single-day attendance recorded at the fair.

Other Labor Day weekend State Fairs have yet to finalize their attendance numbers, although, entering their final day, Minnesota and Nebraska were on pace for record years as well.  
  Posted by Matt Cook on 9/4/2017
Happy World Shows Makes China Debut
Happy World Shows of Cedar, Park Texas begins it's Asian tour in Northern China.
It is scheduled to do 4 events in China within the next 10 months. It will then travel on to Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand and The Philippines.

The Bodecker Group is filming daily for Space Coast Pictures which is producing the adventure for a US reality TV show.

  Posted by Press Release on 9/1/2017
IN THEIR OWN WORDS
In our efforts to chronicle the history of our industry, we could think of no better way to further this endeavor than to interview industry pioneers and preserve their videos for posterity.

Wade Shows -HIRING for 2017, NOW BOOKING, Office Manager & Assistant wanted, Custom Fence & Signage available!!

Campy's Amusements is Now Hiring for 2017 - Ring of Fire Foreman, Electrician, Ride Supers

LIFETIME Products is building bunk houses for carnivals, concessionaires, entertainers and more with units starting at just $39,900.  Call 813-781-9182 for info.

SONSHINE AMUSEMENTS is hiring help for the 2017 season!  Start immediately!  Work in MO throughout the summer months and southern states during the fall, spring, and winter.  Help wanted for Rides, Games, Food and much more!  Call Ashley at 205-999-3811.

Michael's Amusements - CDL drivers, Ride Foremen, Food & Game Help wanted for 2017!

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