Crowded final day a fine 'fair'-well at Bloomsburg
BLOOMSBURG - With attendance numbers likely higher than 2010, the president of the Bloomsburg Fair doesn't believe this year's higher admission price was a detriment.
The fair wrapped up a nine-day run for its 157th year Saturday amid good weather and another large crowd.
Sitting in his office overlooking the main thoroughfare, Paul Reichart said by 2:30 p.m., more than 40,000 people had past through the gates on what he expected to be the busiest day of the week-long fair.
Added to 343,354, the total through Friday, put the attendance at more than 383,000, and Reichart was confident by day's end Saturday the number would climb to 420,000 - surpassing the 402,286 mark from 2010.
The fair was canceled last year for the first time in history because of damage from Tropical Storm Lee, and the fair board voted to increase admission from $5 to $8 to help pay back money borrowed for extensive repairs.
It was evident the fair would have a good day as vehicles were backed up to Rupert, a mile or so
from the fair parking lot entrance along Route 42, Saturday afternoon. Country music star Alan Jackson performed Saturday evening to a nearly sold-out crowd, which may have added to the heavy traffic.
Reichart said the increase in admission didn't seem to stop people from attending the fair.
"I had minimal vendors who had concerns about the raise in gate fees," Reichart said. "They said to me that if I would have kept it at the same price, 20,000 more people would have attended."
Same price next year
He said he doesn't believe that's the case, and said he will not vote to lower gate fees next year.
"We need that capital in case another flood happens," he said. "If we get another flood, it's tens of thousands of dollars in damage."
In his second year as president, this is just the first time he has overseen the fair since last year's fair was canceled. The "rookie" president was busy during the week meeting new faces and welcoming back vendors he already knew on a first name basis.
"By improving our buildings, people have been congratulating me as president for bringing the fair back to excellent condition," Reichart said. "I spent a lot of time on fair grounds greeting vendors."
60 more 'Sky' cars
As for the Sky Ride, an aerial tramway that took riders from one end of the fairground to the other, Reichart said there were "very few incidents" and heard nothing but positive comments. Sixty more cars will be added next year to reduce the waiting line, he said.
Reichart said one thing that will probably not change is "preview day," which was new to the fair this year. On Sept. 21, the day before the official opening, 22,556 people paid $3 to get a sneak peek of the fair.
"(Preview day) helped a little bit," Reichart said of the overall attendance. "We will look at it, but the assumption is we will continue it."
Preview Day - 22,556
Total through Friday: 343,354
Saturday: Not yet available
Preview Day - (none held)