Climate change is going to cut into how much time you can spend riding a gut-turning carnival attraction, petting a cute baby goat or munching on a giant turkey leg at the Los Angeles County Fair.
To help visitors escape the late summer heat, the annual end-of-summer celebration at the Fairplex in Pomona plans to reduce daytime operating hours in hopes of pushing people to visit during the cooler evening hours instead.
The fair announced Thursday that it will reduce the hours that the fair operates on Wednesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays. Fair executives have blamed stifling summer heat for flagging attendance numbers. The fair will operate on select days from Sept. 4 to 27, which is usually one of the hottest times of the year.
The change means fewer hours of fun for fair visitors, but Fairplex Chief Executive Miguel Santana also announced Thursday that the daily attendance price won’t increase this year, marking the fourth year in a row that one-day prices for adults will remain at $14 for weekdays and $20 for weekends.
In addition, he said, fair tickets purchased online for the opening Labor Day weekend will sell for $10 for adults.
“Our theme and new hours reflect this issue as we, too, need to adapt to climate change,” he said, referring to the fair’s theme, “We Light the Night: Experience the Glow.” The fair plans to add more nighttime entertainment, including lighted art installations.
On Wednesdays and Thursdays, the opening time will shift from noon to 4 p.m. The closing times won’t change for Wednesdays at 10 p.m. and Thursdays at 11 p.m. Operating hours on Fridays will remain the same, noon to midnight. On Saturdays and Sundays, the park will open at 11 a.m. instead of 10 a.m. and close at midnight on Saturday andat 10 p.m. on Sundays. Except for Labor Day, the fair remains closed Mondays and Tuesdays.
“Based on what we have experienced in paid attendance on Wednesdays and Thursdays, the vast majority of guests are choosing to come to the fair in the late afternoon or evening because of the heat,” Santana said, adding that only 1,223 paid visitors came through the gates from noon to 4 p.m. on Wednesdays and Thursdays during the entire fair last year.
The 2019 fair drew a total of 1.1 million visitors, down from about 1.25 million in 2018, a decline that fair representatives blamed partly on temperatures that rose above 90 degrees on 14 out of the 19 days of the event.
Fair executives have been trying to fight the forces of nature for a while. Last year, the Fairplex added 100 new tables topped with umbrellas to bring the total to 300, plus 12 new umbrellas, which will shade other seating areas near the agricultural exhibits.
In addition, the Fairplex more than doubled the number of shade sails that hang over the main thoroughfare running the length of the fairgrounds, a $50,000 investment. The fair also added two more mist-spewing cooling stations, bringing the total to five.