Fair weather draws crowd

Cooler weather during this year's Thurston County Fair brought higher attendance and better sales figures than last year's, which was marred by scorching weather, a fair official said Wednesday.

More than 30,000 people attended the fair, which ran Aug. 4-8, according to Thurston County officials. That’s an 11 percent increase over last year. It also was one of the more profitable fairs in the past 15 years, according to the county.

The heat wave during the 2009 fair was a major crowd deterrent, said Thurston County Fair manager Rick Storvick. Official attendance for 2009 was 26,321.

“The huge difference was the weather,” he said.

Better weather and more people this year helped food vendors generate $131,204 in gross sales, a 26 percent increase from last year and the fourth-best year since 1995, according to the county. Nonprofit organizations captured $35,000 of those gross sales.

The Youth Animal Market sale also generated more than $76,000, according to the county.

Weather did affect attendance Aug. 7, when rain in the afternoon and evening kept people away, County Manager Don Krupp said.

Krupp said four tons of food was donated during the fair’s One Buck Wednesday promotion. Fairgoers who brought a donation for local food banks gained entry for $1 (general adult admission was $7). Food bank volunteers also collected $1,000 in cash donations.

North Thurston Public School bus drivers provided free shuttle rides to more than 10,700 passengers between parking lots and entrance gates, according to fair officials.

Exhibits also had a strong showing. The photography department had 100 more entries than in 2009, totaling 650 judged submissions, fair officials said.

Several barn animals also had a memorable fair. A sow gave birth to 11 piglets, and a goat gave birth to two kids.

Nate Hulings: 360-754-5476