Nebraska State Fair sets attendance record

Slideshow: At 379,108, attendance nearly 5% higher than last year.

The Nebraska State Fair's 2017 attendance reached 379,108 — a 4.98% increase, or just over 18,000 more fairgoers than last year. The attendance for 2017 is the highest since the state fair moved to Grand Island in 2010, and even exceeds 2009 attendance numbers when folks said goodbye to the old fairgrounds in Lincoln.

"This number is just 10,000 folks shy of the all-time high of 389,171 set in 1997. This is as much a positive endorsement as you'll find," says Joseph McDermott, fair executive director. "We knew we were running steady in attendance, but it's always great to get the final figures and to know we chalked up some very high numbers. This brings the eight-year total to 2,415,137."

"This exemplifies what a great job the state fair staff does in preparing, planning and executing Nebraska's largest entertainment event each year," says Chris Kircher, fair board chairman. "With this one under our belts, we can get started planning for the 2018 event."

"One of the things we’ll be working to resolve are the issues that concert-goers experienced this year," Kircher adds. "The long lines, security and line-of-sight issues will be addressed and corrected for 2018. We always work off the input from fairgoers to improve what we do from year to year."

"Another number that we're very proud of is that 88% of our fairgoers are likely or very likely to recommend the Nebraska State Fair to others. This is our true indicator of the overall state fair experience.  It's what we look at for overall customer satisfaction — and judging by the number — we're still delighting fairgoers from across the state," McDermott says.

This year also marked a special occasion for the state fair, being the state's sesquicentennial. So the state fair helped celebrate with attractions like "Truckin’ Through Nebraska," a hands-on mobile children's museum that features several exhibits relating to Nebraska history, as well as Nebraska by Heart sculptures — part of a public art project celebrating the sesquicentennial.

It's been nearly 150 years since the first Nebraska State Fair was held in Nebraska City. While the first state fair was held in 1868, the fair was not held in 1945 due to World War II. So in 2019, the state fair will be celebrating its own sesquicentennial.

The 2018 Nebraska State Fair will be from Aug. 24 through Sept. 3.

Source: Nebraska State Fair

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