INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – Rain drops couldn’t stop this year’s state fair from being one of the most attended of all time. On Sunday, it was clear Mother Nature wasn’t going to ruin the final day at the fair for these visitors.
“The temperatures are a lot more important than a little bit of rain here and there,” said Andy Klotz, Public Relations Director for the Indiana State Fair. “As long as we don’t get an all-day washout, then we expect to have good attendance and that’s what we’ve had this year.”
Armed with umbrellas and rain jackets, the final round of fair-goers helped push this year’s total attendance past 900,000, which officials say is in the top five most attended fairs in history. However, for Pup Dunmeyer, manager at King’s Taters, a little more heat and less rain is exactly what he was hoped to see.
“If you remember last year, it was, I think we had one rain day and then other than that it was hot and everybody wanted to come out,” Dunmeyer said. “Everybody was thirsty and hungry, ready to go.” Although it wasn’t ideal, he still fried up plenty of spuds, an estimated 20,000 to 25,000.
Hot food normally steals the show at the state fair, but this year was all about the cold, alcoholic drinks that returned to the fairgrounds after more than 60 years. Several craft brews and wineries served up samples, giving people a local taste of a thriving industry.
“The vendors that participated this year were really thrilled with how it went and I’m guessing that word’s going to get out to some of the other vendors,” said Klotz. Officials also said the free stage was often packed with crowds – a pleasant surprise with so many headliners filling the newly renovated coliseum.
“I think [the free stage] is one of the hidden gems of our fair,” Klotz said.
Officials expect more craft brew companies and wineries to register for next year’s fair.
Visitors told our sister station WISH-TV that this year’s “$2 Tuesday,” where select food items are only $2, felt more crowded than previous years.