Many county fairs booming in bad economy

By Justin Michaels - bio | email

Posted by Lisa Strawbridge - email

WOOD COUNTY (WTOL) - The 136th annual Wood County Fair is going strong. From pork-a-leans to livestock showing, it's business as usual at the fair. This year, something has changed. Attendance is way up.

Why is 2009 the year of the fair?

"I would just say the economy," said attendee Gerald Ellis, "I mean, you can't afford to go anywhere."

Day two of the fair saw 2000 more people and $12,000 in admissions. "Our attendance is up about 10-15 percent over past years," said Garry Aller with the Wood County Fair.

Everyone we talked to agrees that this economy is the big draw to local events like county fairs.

Bob West said, "The fair is a pretty good deal by comparison." He and his family are fair regulars. West said stay-cationing at the Wood County Fair isn't the only cut back they've made. "We've went a lot less places and been more selective on where we can go to get the family in at a better price."

A group benefiting from increased people through the gate are the vendors. Dino Burrell has been at the Wood County Fair selling food for 34 years. "They want to get out more. They're staying local, and they're not traveling as much," he said.

Lorison Moody agrees, "I don't think two-week vacations to Myrtle Beach are in the budget this time of year, so I think everybody's trying to stay home, save money and doing what you can to entertain the kids."

Wood County isn't alone in record attendance levels. Ottawa County and also Seneca County are also reporting extremely high levels as people in the area are simply adapting to this struggling economy.

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