This year’s Nebraska State Fair had a 2.5 percent increase in attendance compared to the year before.
A 7 percent increase the opening weekend and a 3 percent increase the final weekend helped boost overall attendance.
“We were about 10,000 over a year ago and it was a surprise to us,” Shaun Schleif, marketing and sponsorships director, tells Nebraska Radio Network. “You know, a lot of times we have smaller increments. This is 2.5 percent, and when you get into the numbers we’re talking about, that can actually equate to a sizeable amount of folks.”
Schleif says 45 percent of fairgoers surveyed say they go each year, but about one in five came for the first time.
“Once we get them here, people will come back again and again,” he says. “So, I think what we’re seeing after seven years (in Grand Island), is kind of the fruition of seven years of getting people in, getting them acclimated to what’s going on, finding out how much fun it really is, and they come back for more.”
Discounted ticket prices on Tuesday and Thursday helped boost attendance those days, as did concerts featuring Lady Antebellum, The Voice contestant Hannah Huston, and Train.
Schleif says customer satisfaction was around 90 percent, according the fairgoers survey.
“What we asked them is would they enthusiastically recommend the Nebraska State Fair to others,” he says, “and 87 percent is indicative of those folks that would.”
Schleif says they expect higher attendance and a two-dollar admission price increase on the weekends will boost revenue when numbers are finalized.
Next year’s Nebraska State Fair is scheduled for Aug. 25 to Sept. 4, 2017.