Weather, entertainment, gas prices expected to draw fairgoers
Photos from the 2008 Rock County 4-H Fair taken by Gazette photographers.
JANESVILLE Bring on the sunscreen and sunglasses.
Beautiful weather expected for the Rock County 4-H fair, which kicks off today, coupled with high gas prices and good main stage acts should bode well for fair attendance, fair officials predict.
“It really looks like it will be a good fair week, weather wise,” said Mary Fox, fair treasurer.
The National Weather Service is forecasting nearly all sun all week with highs today in the upper 70s to low 80s by Thursday. Only a 20 percent chance of thunderstorms creeps into the picture Thursday through Friday.
“The weather plays in big with who comes to the fair,” Fox said. “If it’s too hot and humid, we don’t have crowds. If it’s rainy, we don’t have crowds.”
Attendance and weather records for the past 20 years don’t show a consistent correlation, but years with low rainfall amounts typically brought good attendance. Last year’s fair week, however, marked the second-highest rainfall but above-average attendance compared to the last 20 years, according to The Janesville Gazette records.
Today’s $4 admission should bring people out, Fox said.
And good entertainment that’s bringing in “nothing but good comments” should help, she said.
“(We’ve had) lots of calls on Corbin Bleu and Lady Antebellum as well as Randy Travis,” she said. “We think that those three shows—all of them, really—will do well.”
Fair officials like to see attendance hit more than 100,000 for the six-day event, she said.
“If we get near that goal, we’re happy,” she said. “We don’t see any reason why we wouldn’t do that this year.”
Fair officials have discussed the impact a slumping economy and gas prices could have on fair attendance, but Fox said it actually could draw more people.
With gas prices around $4 a gallon, the thought is maybe people won’t travel far.
“Maybe they’ll come to the fair, and that will be their vacation rather than spending a lot of money on gas,” she said.
The majority of attendees are Rock County area residents, she said.
Tickets are $8 a day for adults and $5 for children. Weeklong passes for adults are $22 and $10 for children.
Season ticket sales are about the same as last year, she said.
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