Country singer Briana Renea has performed at roughly 100 fairs and festivals in six years, but this was her first go-round in Clark County. What stood out most to the Canby, Ore., performer: the local fair’s size.
“For me, this feels more like the state fair than the county fair because it’s so big,” Renea said.
The 10-day Clark County Fair wrapped up Sunday. With its 151st edition completed — but with specific attendance and revenue numbers not yet available — fair organizers seemed satisfied with its popularity.
“It actually went really, really well,” Fair Manager Mickey Webb said. “We had really good attendance.”
Organizers believe the momentum from last year’s 150th anniversary, and the promotion efforts that accompanied it, might have continued this year. The fair typically draws hundreds of thousands of visitors annually.
“I think it did (carry over), the extra marketing that we did for that,” Webb said. “We are definitely on par with last year’s numbers.”
With any fair, weather can be a major factor in attendance level. Hot weather is common at the Clark County Fair, but this year was unusual. While blistering days could be felt, they were mixed with milder, cloudy weather and even rain.
“It’s been an interesting weather year, but the numbers held pretty strong,” Webb said.
The difference could be seen between either hot or rainy days, when crowds would spend more time inside, and periods of mild weather, when walkways would be packed.
Rain also didn’t affect attendance in motor sports events, fair spokesman Jim Beriault said. It’s not entirely a surprise, as new fairgoers noticed that the motors ports were more popular compared with other fairs.
“They’re resilient,” Beriault said of fans of the sports.
In Webb’s first year running the fair, a few additions were noticeable. This year’s theme was “Sounds of Summer.”
“We try to do something new and fresh every year, and I think people respond to that,” Beriault said.
Fittingly, more sounds could be heard at this summer’s fair.
Whereas musical acts would typically end a few days into previous fairs, this year’s event featured daily performances. That opened more windows for artists like Renea, who performed for a third day Sunday.
“It’s been a lot of fun,” Renea said in between performances as she munched on a corn dog. “Hopefully I’ll be back next year.”
In the featured exhibit, Bug Ology, roughly 3,500 people ate edible bugs on the second Saturday alone, curator Karla Majewski said.
“We just really appreciated the opportunity to teach people about a different protein option in their diet,” she said.
Now one year in, Webb said he plans to continue managing the fair. He’s even begun formulating a few ideas for next year, including additional entertainment.
“Not running away, this has been a really fun fair,” Webb said.
Webb said Sunday that next year’s fair already has a theme: “Sights to See.”
What, exactly, will that look like?
“(It’s) in development,” Webb said. “We have a full 12 months to work on it.”