CENTRAL POINT, Ore. – Officials at the Jackson County Fair say attendance is likely down this year compared to last.
Although the final tally isn’t done, they say the hot weather brought afternoon crowds down by about 10%. That was partially made up for by successful evening events, which saw an estimated 5% bump in numbers.
Officials say some of the experimental attractions also exceeded expectations – camel rides and bull rides among them – but they say one of the big unknowns going forward is the possible departure of 4-H.
“Certainly you have redefined the fair if it doesn’t have youth involvement… the development of leadership skills, and competitions for youth,” said Expo Manager Dave Koellermeier. “It would be a paradigm shift.”
As of now, budget cuts mean next year will be the fair’s last with 4-H, but officials say they see it as such a big part of the fair and community that they’re confident it will find the funding it needs to stay. In the meantime, planning for next year’s fair begins in about a week.