Report: 2016 was another record-setting year for Garfield County Fair
In recent years, the Garfield County Fair and Rodeo has set records in attendance at signature events and sponsorships. That trend continued in 2016, according to a report recapping the fair.
“It was a record-setting year in 2016 for the 78th annual Garfield County Fair & Rodeo,” the report states.
This year’s Friday night concert, which featured country musicians Josh Turner and Chris Janson, set an all-time record for attendance and ticket sales with 3,483 tickets generating $98,350.
Fair organizers in the past several years have prioritized the Friday night concert and made a point to bring in acts with broad name recognition, the Post Independent previously reported. The 2016 numbers are a notable increase over 2015 when country star Gary Allan helped generate $79,055 in ticket sales — more than double the ticket sales collected from the 2014 concert.
However, the sizeable crowd did reveal issues with entering the revenue.
People started lining up more than two hours before the show, and the line stretched out to Railroad Avenue more than an hour before the scheduled start time, the PI reported.
“We will make some major changes to our entry system to ensure a higher quality experience for all of our concert patrons,” the report notes.
Specifically, the venue needs to open two hours before the scheduled start and the number of ticket scanners and bag checkers needs to increase. The report also suggests improvements to the north grandstands to make them safer and more accessible for capacity crowds.
Beyond the concert, other signature events saw record numbers including the demolition derby. In total, the event made $32,320 off of 1,902 tickets sold.
There were more participants in 2016, when trucks were added to the event. That move could mean even more participants in 2017, the report notes.
The Professional Rodeo Cowboy Association Xtreme Bulls, which was added to the lineup in 2015, sold 820 tickets generating $10,885. The PRCA rodeo the following evening sold 953 tickets totaling $7,835 in sales. The number of rodeo participants increased from 47 in 2015 to 82 this year.
This year’s junior livestock show was one of the best on record, according to the report. With 227 entries and 164 buyers, the livestock show raked in $438,358 — second only to 2008 when it made $488,159.
Total donations, including cash and in-kind, rose to $143,631 — an increase of 18 percent compared to 2015. Over the past three years the fair has seen growth of 82 percent in donations.
A notable addition this year was the Traxxas Monster Truck Destruction Tour, which closed out the fair. The show, considered one of the fair’s main events, generated $20,540 with 1,247 tickets sold.
“The show had great attendance, especially for a first-time event,” the report states.
Free pit passes for children proved to be especially popular, and offered kids the opportunity to see the trucks up close and meet the driver.
“Attendees of all ages enjoyed the tuff truck action that took place in between monster truck runs.”
In presenting the information to Garfield County commissioners this past week, Doreen Herriott, fair and events coordinator, said organizers intend on having a motor sport main event again on Sunday during the 2017 fair.
While the commissioners were appreciative with fair organizers’ efforts overall, Commissioner Tom Jankovsky stated his desire to see a continued push to make the event more diverse and appealing to different groups, particularly the county’s sizeable Latino population.
Among the future priorities for the fair included in the report is a desire to broaden participation by reaching out to non 4-H/FFA organizations and families.
The 2017 fair is scheduled for July 31 through Aug. 7.
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