Weather contributes to decrease in Berrien County Fair attendance

Published 9:20 am Thursday, August 25, 2016

Heavy rainfall dampened attendance figures at this year’s Berrien County Youth Fair, according to fair officials.

Overall attendance Monday, Aug. 15, through Saturday, Aug. 20, was 118,409 people, a decrease of 6,604 from the previous year.

Karen Klug, fair president, attributed the drop in the number of visitors to weather. The fair received more than four inches of rain Monday and experienced a prolonged rainfall early Saturday afternoon.

Not surprisingly, attendance was at its lowest Monday (16,808) and Saturday (15,999). Attendance on those days in 2015 was 18,848 Monday, and 21,108 Saturday.

“We don’t have all our numbers together yet but I am sure that our gate receipt will be down and our concession and our rides will all be down,” she said. “When it is pouring down rain for as much time as it did this year people are not really out doing what they normally do at the fair.”

Although the rain caused damage to the grassy parking lot areas, Klug said it did not result in much damage elsewhere. However, it did cause schedules to be changed, especially for the horse exhibits, which all take place outdoors.

Despite the weather, Klug said it was a good fair thanks to the hard work of volunteers, fair staff and exhibitors.

“It is going to be a memorable one for everyone that was here and participated,” she said. “I appreciate how everyone worked together and made new friends and made it through.”

While attendance numbers were down, the fair saw in increase in the number of youth exhibitors and exhibits over last year. This year’s exhibitor total was 2,204, up 341 from 2015, and the exhibits total was 11,980, up 650 from 2015.

The fair auctions brought in $505,194, an increase from last year’s auctions of $495,635. Last year’s auctions did not include chickens.

Klug also said the fair did a good job of preventing the spread of swine flu, which has been found in animals at other fairs, including this year’s Cass County Fair. She said she is not aware of any animals or people at the fair contracting swine flu.

“Our hogs stayed healthy, our visitors stayed healthy and the public stayed healthy because they weren’t allowed in the hog barn,” she said. “We were happy about that.”


Monday — 16,808 (last year 18,848)
Tuesday — 26,253 (last year 22,394)
Wednesday — 17,270 (last year 15,477)
Thursday — 20,045 (last year 23,808)
Friday — 22,034 (last year 23,378)
Saturday — 15,999 (last year 21,108)
TOTAL — 118,409 (last year 125,013)