October 24, 2014

Over 1 million attend State Fair

The Wisconsin State Fair ends in West Allis with attendance over 1 million.

Organizers say this year’s 11-day event attracted 1,012,552. That’s an increase of almost 10 percent above last year’s attendance of 920,962. This is the largest reported attendance since 1969 when a little over a million tickets were sold, though just how many of those ticket recipients actually attended the event back then isn’t certain. Kristi Chuckel, State Fair spokesperson, says truly accurate attendance records have only been available since 2002 when the Fair first invested in ticket scanning technology at the gates.

Chuckel says the weather was a big factor in this year’s high turnout, but she stresses that organizers also worked very hard to offer an enjoyable experience to those spending their hard-earned money at this 162-year tradition. “You can have beautiful weather, but if people don’t want to come to your event, they’re not gonna come.”

Chuckel is fully aware that reaching attendance of over a million very well may be a once-in-lifetime occurrence. Also up, sales of the highly-coveted cream puffs. “Last year we did around 375,000 cream puffs. So this year it was up. We did closer to 387,000 cream puffs. It’s really just the staple of the fair. It’s been a staple since 1924. Clearly when we have more people there, we’ll have more people buying cream puffs.”

The use of social media kept everyone informed on special promotions, events, and prices. During the event, the State Fair facebook page reached 100,000 “likes,” and its number of Twitter followers now exceeds 10,000.

No rest for the weary. Chuckel says organizers are already preparing for next year’s big event. They have a fair recap/planning-for-next-year meeting Tuesday. “We always try to get our whole staff together right after the fair so we can really talk about what went well, what we’d like to see improved, ideas that came up during the fair. Just so it’s fresh in everyone’s minds and we can get it all on paper and start breaking into task forces to work on projects for the next year.”

[StateFair5] :19 …the next year.