Colorado State Fair attendance may be down, but spending is apparently up

VIDEO Colorado State Fair Attendance

PUEBLO, Colo. - Monday marks Labor Day as well as the closing of the Colorado State Fair. That is, until next year. 

Guests at this year's fair saw all kinds of attractions and famous entertainers, like "Larry The Cable Guy", Joan Jett, and Old Dominion, but how do the attendance numbers rank up against years past?

According to Colorado State Fair officials, fewer people visited the state fair in 2018 than in 2017. As of Sunday, six percent fewer people came to the state fairgrounds this year when compared to last. 

State fair officials say last year's ZZ Topp and Gabriel Iglesias shows drew larger crowds than this year's headliners, however, fairgoers are spending more money once they get inside the gates.

Food sales, carnival ticket sales, and ticket admissions are actually up this year, compared to last, however, there aren't really any concrete numbers to be shared with the public at this time. 

Colorado State Fair General Manager Scott Stoller says they are currently operating in the black, but expect all proceeds from this year's state fair to go directly back into projects on the fairgrounds. 

“Obviously we will always have a maintenance deficit so we need all kinds of new stuff out here," said Stoller. "We just did a study on one of our buildings. Six million dollars to bring it up to new. So we will always have a maintenance deficit.”

Stoller took the job two months before the state fair opened its gates and is currently heading into the offseason. He says his main priority is to now start working on picking projects which require more attention. One of the biggest ones: the pavement, which could use some new asphalt. 

Stoller says he wants to focus on the ground's infrastructure, but we asked fairgoers what changes they want to see. Many told KRDO, they enjoy the family-friendly environment the fair has to offer, but they just wish it was more friendly on their wallets. 

"The cost to get in, the parking costs, the food is expensive, the rides are expensive," said La Junta resident and first time State Fair visitor Jeremy Yoder. "So it is a lot of money you have to put out to enjoy the fair especially for someone who has got a family and kids."

However, others say this is how the fair has always been and there are ways to plan ahead so you don't have to pay so much.

"We are paying cash for everything," said Les Burch next to his wife. For Burch, the prices never bothered him as he enjoys walking around and enjoying the sights.

"Everything here is perfect. This is what we come down from Colorado Springs for," said Burch.

Now that the fair is coming to a close, Stoller says he views it as a complete success with minimal incidents or complaints, however, he is nearly ready to shut down after a long week and a half.

"I don't get tired until a few days after the fair. It is almost like I don't feel the exhaustion until the adrenaline wears off," said Stoller. "Talk to me on Friday, and I'll let you know how I feel." 

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