Attendance down 14 percent at Ohio State Fair this year

COLUMBUS (WCMH) –Ticket counters are not as busy this year at the Ohio State Fair, as numbers show a drop in attendance.

Brian Shenkman owns multiple stands at the fair but this year is unlike years prior, “I think people are a little afraid to come out this year which they shouldn’t be. It was a very fluke accident that happened and that it wasn’t something that was planned or anybody did foresee.”

A fluke accident is what Shenkman is calling last week’s tragedy on the Midway.

“It is hurting the vendors. We’re spread out among the fairgrounds. We can see the difference between businesses that are closer to the midway to businesses that are a little bit further away. I would say the south end is seeing maybe a 25 percent decrease in gross sales whereas the front here is probably seeing about a 10-15 percent decrease in sales,” Shenkman said.

According to the Ohio State Fair, attendance is down 14 percent this year. The difference in attendance from last year compared to this year is a total of 81,235 people.

Marketing and Public Relations Director, Alicia Shoults says, “Attendance varies quite a bit from year to year based on a number of things I mean obviously weather is always huge for us. You know of course our hearts go out to the families impacted by the tragedy that happened here and I’m sure that probably played a role.”

Vendor owner, Don Kenna joined the Ohio State Fair in 1978.

“We look back on years,” she said. “Like, I was at the Kansas State Fair when 911 happened, you know, the crowds were down for that. So there is some pressure because of what happened, you know, not only on the fairgrounds, but outside the fairgrounds. But weather is the greatest determining factor in crowds.”

The State Fair is hoping to get numbers up for the last three days, as the fair closes Sunday at 7pm. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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