2009 List Sponsored by Haas & Wilkerson Insurance

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After a season of preparing stories and articles on fairs, carnivals and events, we decided to undertake the task of producing a Top 50 fairs and carnivals list, carrying on a popular tradition begun by Amusement Business Magazine. Old copies of the lists are available through the Amusement Business website for purchase @ $10 each. In keeping with our business plan, we make the lists available on our website free of charge.

There are some variations from past lists that we would like to point out. First is our estimate of the Texas State Fair attendance. For many years, the Texas State Fair and the Ohio State Fair competed to have the largest attendance in the country, reporting number in excess of 3,000,000 people. Beginning with the administration of Rick Frenette the Ohio State Fair began reporting a more accurate attendance of 800,000 to 900,000. The Texas State Fair then began to report only food and ride sales from coupons and did not release attendance figures. Amusement Business continued to estimate the Texas State Fair attendance at 3,000,000. We decided to try to get at a more accurate estimate and came to a per capita spending figure based upon the data garnered from several other major fairs. Hopefully the number we arrived at is more accurate than what has been previously reported. Nonetheless, the Texas State Fair remains #1 on our Top 50.

Only one fair, the Greater Jacksonville Fair, did not have accurate numbers available by press time. Since they did not have an estimate when the numbers would be available or an estimate for 2006 attendance, we decided to go with an estimated attendance based on past history and we will update the list when the actual number becomes available.

New to the list this year is the Mid-South Fair in Memphis, reporting a 10% increase over 2005 numbers. The Kern County Fair returns to the list after an absence and the Maryland State Fair , Dutchess County Fair (NY) and the Ionia Free Fair dropped from the list this year.

Several new carnivals made the 2006 list. Power’s Great American made a big debut with the North Carolina State Fair. Crabtree Amusements landed the Colorado State Fair and Shamrock Shows held the midway for the Big Fresno Fair.

Compiling this list is not an easy task. You have to make decisions about how to quantify attendance numbers, which events constitute a fair and whether or not free fairs should be included. For our first list, we held steady to the traditions of the lists that came before us. If you have suggestions or ideas about how to better rank the fairs and what the criteria for qualifications should be, please let us know. We would appreciate your input.

Click here to download the 2006 TOP 50 FAIRS and CARNIVALS list.

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