Rainy weather takes toll on 2016 Field Days attendence
NEW HAVEN — Addison County Fair and Field Days attendance dropped this year from typical numbers, and even further from 2015, which was a banner year.
About 27,000 people paid their way into the New Haven fairgrounds between Aug. 9 and 13, according to the Field Days business manager, about 10,000 fewer than 2015.
But Field Days board member Ken Button said although that drop-off appears dramatic, it was, while disappointing, not that far off from attendance in an average year.
Button looked at gate receipts from 2012, 2013 and 2014, and said 2016 will probably end up at about 17 percent below the average of those “three typical years.”
The 30 percent attendance drop from 2015, therefore, “is not really a good statistic,” Button said. “From a typical average we’re down somewhere in the teens.”
Button said 2015’s gate receipts stood at 19 percent higher than the average of those three prior years.
Of the reason why the numbers dropped this August, Button said there was no doubt.
“I would say it was 99 percent due to the weather,” he said.
Field Days got off to a solid start, with numbers comparable to 2015.
“The first three days were great,” Button said.
Then Friday and Saturday brought forecasts of rain that proved to be accurate.
“The weatherman was right,” Button said. “The public listened to the radio and just didn’t come.”
Saturday proved to be particularly painful, he said.
“We had to cancel all of the tractor pulls on Saturday. That is a big day. That was pretty sad,” Button said. “So we got hit pretty hard on Saturday.”
Overall, Button said the fair ran smoothly. But while the final numbers aren’t in yet, the Field Days board will probably not authorize the same sort of big improvements to the grounds it has in recent years.
“We’ll definitely have to defer any big projects for another year,” Button said. “The last two years we’ve done a lot of really significant projects out there.”
And the moral of the story is that Addison County’s agricultural fair has something in common with the community it serves.
“We’re just as weather dependent as the farmer,” Button said.
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