Some North Texas State Fair and Rodeo attendees were probably unaware they were being watched last week by someone who noted every detail as they hopped on rides and observed live shows.
President and CEO Glenn Carlton said he already has about two pages worth of notes to help him prepare for next year’s fair and its expected growth.
Despite this year’s fair starting with rain on its first day, Carlton said the weather and record-breaking attendance made up for it.
“I was very pleased,” he said. “Everything ran pretty good, and it was very successful. We had a rough opening day, but it was just a minor setback.”
About 132,500 people attended the fair, which is a 5 percent increase over last year, Carlton said.
“If we had not lost the first Saturday to rain, this number would have been much higher,” he added.
Carlton said the fair set attendance records on six out of nine nights — Sunday through Thursday and the closing Saturday.
“I believe it was due to the below-normal temperatures and school not overlapping the fair this year,” he said.
Carlton said the addition of new events each year also contributes to higher turnout.
Total revenue wasn’t calculated as of Sunday, but Carlton said revenue is expected to exceed $1 million.
Carlton said that every year his goals for the next fair are always the same.
“It’s to make that fair better than the last,” he said. “My job is to plan and to make sure everything runs smoothly. When we open, the volunteers take over, and it allows me to drive around and make notes of things we can improve on and change next year.”
As soon as doors open for one fair, planning for the next one begins, he said.
Carlton said monitoring traffic flow will probably be a top priority next year because of the fair’s steady annual attendance growth.
“A lot of the things I plan on changing are more mechanical, meaning they have to do with things like traffic flow and event placement,” he said.
Carlton said the changes he plans on implementing next year will probably go unnoticed, and that’s what he prefers.
“That’s the plan. And there probably won’t be any big changes, so the people won’t notice anything,” he said. “My job is to make sure they have an enjoyable experience whether they’re aware of the changes or not.”
Carla Banks said the fair was nearly perfect this year and decent weather was a nice addition.
“It’s pretty nice that temperatures didn’t break 100,” she said. “I bet that’s why the fair saw a good turnout.
“No one wants to go outside when the sun is beating down on you.”
JOHN D. HARDEN can be reached at 940-566-6882. His e-mail address is email@example.com .