MONROE — Evergreen State Fair attendance was down 9% over the previous year.
From 2013 to 2019, the Evergreen State Fair drew about 350,000 people on average. Fair attendance over the past 10 years peaked in 2019 at 355,597. The county-run fair was not held in 2020 due to the pandemic. It returned in 2021, drawing 181,000 fairgoers.
Just over 253,000 people attended last year’s fair.
There were some positives, including a 6.5% increase in concert ticket sales. Two rodeos and a demolition derby were also sold out.
“It’s not easy running a fair,” County Council member Sam Low said at a council meeting Tuesday. “I think the biggest complaint I heard was a lot of bee stings.”
Mike Ohlsen, who is in his first year as the Evergreen State Fair’s manager, said there was only one accident at the fair, which involved a slide.
“It was a great and safe fair,” Ohlsen told the council.
He also highlighted the Evergreen State Fair Rodeo as a major growth point. There was more participation this year, making for “much more exciting rodeos,” he said. There were also three paid concerts and one free laser light show.
Total revenue for the 2023 fair was not yet available. In 2022, the fair brought in $5.4 million, against a cost of $2.7 million to put on the event.
“The fair revenues cover about 75% of the operating costs, maintenance, and staff of the entire fair park year-round,” county spokesperson Rose Intveld wrote in an email.
Projects planned for the fairgrounds in Monroe include replacing the grandstand roof, improving the entrance and building renovations.
Outside funding for some of those projects could be a possibility.
“We did get a bunch of state legislators out (at the fair) this year,” Low said. “Hopefully we can get a few more out in the years to come because I think there could be some state funding available to help with capital projects out there. We’d love to get more of that.”
Evergreen State Fair attendance numbers
• 2013: 340,768
• 2014: 348,630
• 2015: 321,323
• 2016: 342,631
• 2017: 350,761
• 2018: 346,045
• 2019: 355,597
• 2020: No fair due to COVID
• 2021: 181,229
• 2022: 253,902
• 2023: 228,681