Canadian County experienced its largest fair in history last week, officials said.
Residents from within and outside of the county enjoyed 4-H shows, a carnival, rodeo, baked goods competition and more at the 67th annual free fair Aug. 23-28. More than double the amount of previous fair attendees experienced the new Canadian County Expo Center.
As the fair was canceled last year, due to the pandemic, Brad Tipton, Canadian County Fair Board secretary, said 2019 saw between 9,000 and 10,000 attendees at the old fairgrounds. Because the Expo Center has a much larger capacity, about 20,000 people were able to attend the fair.
Typically, when a fair relocates to a new facility, fewer people attend, Tipton said he learned from the carnival contractor Aug. 29. This was not the case for Canadian County, as he noted the fair was hit out of the park.
The fair board, county commissioners and staff are ecstatic with the results, Tipton added. Through an industry standard calculator, the fair’s economic impact was about half a million dollars.
In three and a half days, the carnival contractor sold more than 13,000 rides.
“The new facility is already showing its benefit to the county,” Tipton said.
While the board could not be happier with the fair’s success, Tipton said they are open to constructive criticism to coordinate an even better event next year.
Some members of the public shared critiques at Monday’s county commissioners meeting.
Comments, such as no flagpole outside the Expo Center and limited disability accessibility when entering and exiting the doors of the facility, were mentioned.
“We’ve been working so hard to get it open — you overlook things,” Tipton said.