Advertisement
Share

Hot weather cited as L.A. County Fair attendance drops again

Ashlyn Ballou, 18, of Rancho Cucamonga, tries to keep her balance while riding a mechanical bull at the Los Angeles County Fair in Pomona. Attendance dropped this year to 1.2 million, compared to 1.4 million last year.
Ashlyn Ballou, 18, of Rancho Cucamonga, tries to keep her balance while riding a mechanical bull at the Los Angeles County Fair in Pomona. Attendance dropped this year to 1.2 million, compared to 1.4 million last year.
(Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)

Officials at the Los Angeles County Fair blamed a summer heat wave and the end to a $1-ticket program for a 16% drop in attendance this year.

The annual fair at the Pomona Fairplex drew 1,204,911 visitors over the 23-night stretch that ended Sunday, compared with 1,438,514 last year, according to the county fair. Attendance in 2013 declined 2% from 2012.

Despite the drop in attendance, the nonprofit county fair took in about $30 million from the sale of food and drinks, admission, parking and sponsorship deals, among other revenues -- roughly on par with last year’s total, fair officials said.

Advertisement

Fair organizers expected that high temperatures might keep people away, so they spent about $500,000 to install extra shade and umbrella tables and scheduled more events after dark, such as a display of Chinese lanterns.

But attendance numbers didn’t rise until the last week of the fair, when temperatures dropped to the mid-70s and 80s. The fair broke an attendance record Thursday when it drew 70,010 visitors and 85,453 guests Friday.

In years past, the fair offered $1 admission during opening weekend. But that deal was not offered this year.

“We felt that the high value of free entertainment, exhibits and attractions, combined with significant promotion of 50% to 75% discounted tickets with our many commercial and community partners, more than made up for the discontinuation of $1 admission,” fair spokesman Michael Chee said.

Other changes may have had an effect on attendance.

This year, tickets to the End of Summer Concert series included free admission to the fair. But horse racing, a crowd favorite, no longer takes place during the fair.

To read more about travel, tourism and the airline industry, follow me on Twitter at @hugomartin.


Advertisement