A strong start has attendance up at the Nebraska State Fair.
State Fair Executive Director Joseph McDermott says attendance figures for the first four days of the event show a hefty increase over past fairs, with attendance in Grand Island so far up by more than 20,000 people or about 21%.
“So, we’re very pleased with attendance for the first four days,” McDermott tells Nebraska Radio Network affiliate WNAX.
Slightly more than 61,000 people attended the fair on the opening Saturday. McDermott says that total rivals the normal Labor Day Sunday traffic, traditionally the best-attended day of the fair.
“Probably the biggest factor for the increase on that Saturday was we held the first outdoor concert at the Nebraska State Fair and we brought in Keith Urban and we had almost 12,000 people attend that concert,” McDermott says. “It went very well.”
The fair sold 11,780 tickets to the Urban concert with sales in 28 states and even three foreign countries. The concert attracted more than one thousand Omaha residents and more than 700 Lincoln residents.
McDermott says State Fair officials expect attendance to stay strong, especially when the 4H and FFA kids come in Friday for their weekend shows and competition.
Two more concerts could help boost attendance. Tonight, the Christian-rock group,
The Newsboys, performs. On Friday night, the classic rock group, Huey Lewis and the News, performs.
“We always have high quality shows and I suspect that will be case this year, too,” McDermott says.
The State Fair runs through Monday, Labor Day. It moved from Lincoln to Grand Island in 2010.