High Heat Hurts County Fair Attendance

7-21 jbo fair

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.


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  1. Marvin Thornbrue says:

    Don’t blame the heat, it had very little to do with it. Substandard entertainment at above standard rates is the most likely cause. My family and I will not be attending any Jackson county fair events in the future, most likely take that money and go to the coast or crater lake, perhaps the water park in Redding. I personally don’t want to see anymore county money being spent trying to keep the expo solvent either. Maybe its past its prime now.

  2. Emil Merusi says:

    The fair has lost it’s “country charm”. Wild rides, “bad for you food”, poor entertainment, and too expensive. Not to mention poor parking. Instead of losing a LOT of money each year, why not have a good ole country fair with maybe a ferris wheel, merry go round, good country food, and a BIG 4-H and FFA program?

  3. Laura says:

    I don’t think the low numbers had anything to do with the hot temperatures- but everything to do with the fair itself. We always enjoyed browsing the vendor booths and this year there were just a few. No petting zoo for the kiddos? A new company for the rides (with an accident happening early on in the week)? What happened to Smokey’s Forest- kids loved to go there and learn about how to take care of our forests (I know that is where the amphitheater is now, but really?!). Too many changes, pricing too high, and having to pay to see the entertainment. I understand that it costs money to put on this fair, but if you look back at how successful it used to be, try going back to that and see if that will draw the people back in. Sometimes things don’t have to change to be better!

  4. Jason says:

    Our family attended the fair this year on Saturday from opening until 5pm. Attendance was so sparse that there were more employees and carnies than patrons. I worked security at the fair 20 years ago, and whenever you moved from one spot to another you felt like a salmon swimming upstream. Sadly, the last 20 years have brought us the Lithia Ampitheater, which was supposed to be free during the fair as I recall, skyrocketing prices for admission, carnival games and rides, and you’ve even managed to upset the main crux of your purpose… 4H. My families entertainment dollars won’t go towards this counties fair any time in the future…

    I hear the Douglas County Fair still knows how to do it. Someone should invest in a car trip and learn how it’s supposed to be done.

  5. Scott Wright says:

    It is hot every year at the fair. You can’t blame the weather.
    The first thing they did wrong was the amphitheater. They have to charge way too much for concerts now. For the $8.00 admission, you used to be able to see the shows for free. And they were better shows. The next big thing they did wrong, was the new fair director. He has no clue how to run a successful fair. People used to go for the entertainment, and spend money at the fair while there. Now, there is no reason to go.
    Weather didn’t kill it. Mismanagement killed it. Lithia killed it.
    Lithia has its name splattered all over the Amphitheater. They should subsidize the fair. Jackson County taxpayers paid a hell of a lot more for that venue than Lithia did, but my name isn’t on it. Your name isn’t on it.

  6. Matthew says:

    I have not been to the fair in years. After living in LA for years the fair is just trying to be a big one in a little town that is trying to be a big town. The people that plan the fair should plan it alittle better for the animals that do not like the heat very much and too bad that 4h will no longer be there but that is Oregon for you or Jackson County.

  7. carol says:

    I agree with all of the above, the fair is not longer a fair! It is a highly priced carnival with bad food. I like the Jospehine fair much better, it still has some of the original country fair feel. If you try to take a whole family of four, the cost is stupid. It would be more fun if they went back to the concept of the ” country Fair” where local people put on food, 4 H animals were featured more, more old fashioned games for the kids, horsehoe contest, other like that. It is just to commericial and predictable and way to expensive. You can not blame hot weather, it is a well know fact for anybody who has lived here for a long time, that the week of fair will always be the hottest week of the year. Spent to many hours in the swine barn with my grandchildren to not know that! So why not get back to basic’s of what a fair is suppose to be…

  8. Robert says:

    Wow, all these comment’s almost covers on what is really wrong with the fair, somebody should dig a lil deeper into the management of both the fair and the Carnival company, you would be shock to find the truth, then again there pretty good at hiding it so good luck. correct me if I am wrong but isn’t the fair manager the same fair manager that was in charge of the State Fair in Salem?

  9. Susie says:

    It has always been hot during the fair. Come on! Don’t try and feed us a bunch of garbage. Higher prices, parking, no musical entertainment. My daughter was so upset that she spent a bunch of money and there was nothing for her 2 year old to ride or do other than see the 4H exhibits. Get rid of the high tech booths and go back to the country charm. We did go to the one concert but it wasn’t related to the fair. It was Christian music and it was fantastic!!!!!! Third Day and Colton Dixon was amazing. The old days you could buy a ticket and see a musical concert now you are expected to pay for that extra. I too agree with all the statements from above.

  10. rene'e says:

    absolutely ! get back to the basics and concert pricing? wow! use to be u paid to get in concerts were free . Theres ur in folk s time to give back to the community in which u take and they’ll give back to you. Heck the 4-h ffa kids cant even get in to a concert for free . Yes and about that smokey bear ….Where is that handsome chap. …..i 100% agree with alll the above also ! Wake up people give the community back there old fashioned roots! I did enjoy the big cats though .

  11. Brianna says:

    If the funding for 4h is cut, and there isn’t a program in the future, I will deffinitely not attend the Jackson County Fair ever again.

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