MONROE — More than 340,000 people came to the Evergreen State Fair between Aug. 25 and Sept. 5.
That’s the second highest attendance in the last six years. The final tally was 342,631 guests this year compared to the record of 348,630 in 2014.
Coming into this year’s fair, there was buzz about how much the recently expanded Washington State Fair in Puyallup might dampen festivities in Monroe. In past years, the Puyallup fair has started after the final days of the Evergreen State Fair. This year, the fairs overlapped during Labor Day Weekend, historically the busiest weekend for Monroe.
The numbers show that events in Puyallup didn’t draw away too many folks from Monroe. The Sunday before Labor Day — Demo Derby Day — was by far the busiest of the 12-day Evergreen State Fair, with 54,266 people passing through the gates. That’s a record for single day attendance, fair manager Hal Gausman said.
While the Puyallup fair didn’t slow the festivities, Gausman suspected there is something that, year after year, has the power to cast a cloud over how many people show up: rain.
“The weather is really the biggest factor for the fair,” he said just before its final weekend.
After the fair, he plugged the numbers into a chart. It goes back to 2011 and tracks fair attendance each day alongside the weather on that same day.
In 2014, when the fair saw its highest attendance, there was only one rainy day during the 12-day run. The rest were sunny.
The lowest total attendance in the last six years was last year, with 321,323 visitors. It rained on four days and there were some showers on two others. There was a record low daily attendance of less than 14,000 people on a rainy Thursday in 2015, the fair’s annual Kids Day.
It’s not all about the sunshine, though. Both 2011 and 2012 were sunny all the way through, but attendance was lower than it has been in more recent years. Gausman noted that the Evergreen State Fair has a loyal group of people who come every year, and it’s a convenient location for many others who live in the greater Seattle area.
Specific attractions draw people to the fair, as well. Rodeo Day and Demo Derby Day tend to be the most popular. The grandstand concerts also bring in crowds. This year, the most well-attended concert was Christian musicians Jeremy Camp and MercyMe, with 2,463 people.
The 2017 Evergreen State Fair already is planned for Aug. 24 to Sept. 4.
Kari Bray: 425-339-3439; firstname.lastname@example.org.