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Wayne Independent - Honesdale, PA
  • Fair smashes attendance record

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  • - The 152nd Wayne County Fair was a huge success, taking in a record crowd of 103,296, said Roger Dirlam, fair president.
    "It's great" to achieve the milestone, the president said Monday.
    It was the first time in fair history that attendance eclipsed 100,000.
    The previous record, set last year, was 96,602, Dirlam said.
    "That's a nice increase. We had a good, strong finish," Dirlam sasid.
    About 17,000 visitors walked through the turnstiles Saturday, the last day of the fair, which started Aug. 1.
    Dirlam thanked all the fairgoers for attending the event, a longtime tradition in Wayne County.
    The fair president credited the record-setting attendance in part to ideal weather, reasonable ticket prices and increased advertising.
    A cute little carrot-topped boy from Luzerne County apparently helped increase attendance as well, after he seized a television reporter's microphone during an interview that subsequently went viral.
    "That was some nice free advertising," Dirlam said with a laugh.
    Noah Ritter, 5, of Wilkes-Barre, became an Internet and national television sensation after taking over an impromptu interview by saying, in part, "Apparently I've never been on live television."
    Afterward, fair officials placed a message on their digital billboard reading, "Apparently we're a pretty big deal. Wayne County Fair, Aug. 1-9.
    But Dirlam stressed, "Mother Nature was our biggest factor. It will either make or break you," noting there were only passing, insignificant showers.
    By midweek, it looked as if last year's record would not be broken, as attendance was down by about 8,000.
    But, unlike last year, when the final days were marred by bad weather, this year the sun and blue skies remained, bringing out the record crowd.
    Page 2 of 2 - A combined 40,000 people attended the fair over its last three days.
    Had the weather turned sour, "we would have never hit 100,000," Dirlam said.
    The fair president also noted the reasonable ticket prices as a reason for the huge turnout.
    An $8 ticket included admission, parking, small stage shows, most grandstand shows and amusement rides all day long.
    There also were livestock displays and competitions for fairgoers to enjoy.
    In addition, Dirlam said, there were many crowd-drawing events at the grandstand, including the monster truck shows, the Black Cat Hell Drivers, the Demolition Derby, tractor pull and harness racing.
    "They really packed the grandstand," he said.

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