Officials hope to see attendance increase at county fair

By Dan Wells - bio | email

CARTHAGE, OH (FOX19) -- The Hamilton County fair wrapped up on Sunday, but the 153-year-old event has seen a nearly 40 percent drop in attendance.

Officials say in its heyday, there were more than 30,000 people at the fair.

And although they don't think that was the case this year, they say the fair is bouncing back.

Whether it's a demolition derby or the hum of a kids roller coaster, plenty of people still love the Hamilton County Fair.

"I think the big thing we really saw this year is we're starting to get the families back, which is really important," said Brad Greer, the fair director.

Greer says he believes the crowds are coming back.

"I haven't been to the Hamilton County Fair in 35 years," said Barb Shank, a fair attendee. "I think it's great."

But the past several years have not been so kind to the community staple. Attendance had dropped nearly 40 percent.

"The fair is really changing," said Greer. "Way back when the fair started, Hamilton County was very agricultural but now we're a very urban county so the fair has had to transition with that and stay the way the county is."

But just because the fair is evolving to survive doesn't mean old favorites fall by the wayside.

"Horse, cows all the chickens, and the smells," said Shank. "It reminds me of when I was a little girl. It brought back great memories."

The Hamilton County Fair has been around for 153 years, and the vendors this year say business is sweet.

"Its been pretty good," said vendor Michele Gregoire.

But it seems the kids are the patrons everyone agrees keep the fair spirit alive.

"Well, everybody should just come to the fair because its sweet," said Josh Gilardi, who loves coming to the fair.

The situation facing Hamilton County's fair is not unique. Other county fairs are hurting too.

The official attendance is not available  yet, but fair officials hope to see a bigger number than last year.