Calif. State Fair Vendors Say Attendance Was Down, Hurt Business
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SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – Fairgoers are taking their final rides as the California State Fair comes to a close in less than two hours.
It’s been a rough ride for some vendors who say overall, attendance seemed down this year compared to the past. And in some cases, it hurt business.
“Sales have been way low. I think we are about 30 percent of what we did last year,” said Tom Tull with Cool Kettle Corn.
It’s been 17 straight days of state fair fun, but this year some vendors say they aren’t happy with the turnout.
“This is pretty full today, but during the week it’s been like a ghost town,” said Tull.
However, fair officials say they hit record attendance numbers not once, but twice this year. One of the days was a Tuesday.
“We knew shortening the fair by one day that we might have a slight decrease in numbers. However, yesterday was one of our top 10 days in history with more than 80,000 people,” said California State Fair CEO Rick Pickering.
But this year the fair started on a Friday rather than a Thursday — one less day to bring in the cash.
“I think if we had the extra day, it obviously would have been good,” said Dominic Palmieri with Corn Shack. “We would have had some extra business, but overall we’re happy.”
Deep discount day on Wednesdays was also not offered this year. Officials say not having it saved the fair half a million dollars. But some say it cost them some sales.
“Last year we had Wednesdays that were $15 wristbands and $6 entrance, so that made a big difference,” said. “We’ve seen a big decline on that day,” George Anne with Milo’s Pizza.
“People are getting paid, but I don’t think the boss is gonna make much money this year, that’s for sure,” said Tull.
And while the boss of some vendors might not be too happy, fairgoers say they enjoyed the lighter crowds.
“Parking was good. It was really easy. The rides have had no lines. It’s been great!” said a fairgoer.
The fair closes tonight at midnight. The official attendance numbers will be available later this week.