There was very little activity at the North TexasFairgrounds Sunday afternoon. Most of the vendors who set up shop at the NorthTexas Fair and Rodeo had packed and left, and many of the large colorful rideshad been disassembled and loaded onto 18-wheelers by work crews.
Just days before the vendors vacated and officialsunplugged the rides, the site was one of the busiest venues in North Texas, andofficials said that this year’s fair topped last year’s event.
“This was the best year we ever had,” said GlennCarlton, North Texas Fair and Rodeo executive director.
More than 150,000 people attended the fair thisyear, up from last year’s attendance of 135,000 people, Carlton said.
This year the fair brought back some of the mostpopular rides, features and bands, which Carlton said helped keep attendancesteady. But Carlton said he believes much of the fair’s success this year wasbecause of cooler-than-normal temperatures.
“I have to give most of the credit to Mother Naturethis year,” he said. “We broke attendance records on five of the nine nights,and those were some of the coolest days we’ve had at the fair.”
Officials provided their own heat relief this year,too, by adding fans and cooling stations throughout the fairgrounds.
“We spent $75,000 alone on making sure people staycomfortable,” Carlton said.
The fair and rodeo also had a few new attractionsthis year, including the Rainforest Experience, which is a show that includestigers, mountain lions and other exotic animals.
Carlton said fairgoers can expect new attractionsnext year, but he didn’t say what those new attractions would be.
“Most of the dates haven’t been set and contractshaven’t been signed, yet,” he said. “I don’t want to say someone or somethingwill be here and then something unexpected happens.”
Lastly, Carlton said the success of the fair androdeo each year can be credited to the 300-plus volunteers who helped keep thevenue organized and running.
“We only have two paid full-time employees and fourpart-time employees,” he said.
Many residents and vendors praised the fair androdeo, saying that it gets better each year. However, a few on social mediahave expressed their unhappiness about the fair’s prices and even said theyavoided the fair this year.
The price for one adult ticket has not increasedfor three years and is only $15, Carlton said.
“If you come to the fair and rodeo and only comefor only one event, then I can see how people would think the prices aren’tworth it,” he said. “But if you come here and attend the fair, rodeo andconcert, then that $15 ticket is worth a lot more. There are very few concertsand rodeos that cost $15.”
JOHN D. HARDEN can be reached at 940-566-6882 andvia Twitter at @JDHarden.