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York Fair attendance down from last year

Christopher Dornblaser
505-5436/@YDDornblaser
  • From Sept. 9 through Sept. 17, there was a 1.8 percent decrease in attendance from last year.
  • GM Michael Froehlich attributed the heat as to why attendance might have been down from last year.

Kimberlie Kwasna was walking around the York Fair on its last day Sunday. The Long Island, New York, resident was in the area looking into places to retire in Lancaster County and came to the fair for one thing: Fair food.

However, the excessive heat — AccuWeather reported a high of 84 Sunday — was putting a damper on her hunger.

"I would've eaten a lot more fair food," she said, had the heat not affected her appetite. She said she found herself drinking more liquids rather than eating anything.

Kwasna's predicament was what York Fair general manager Michael Froehlich said might have caused a decrease in attendance this year.

Cousins Virginia Ball, 14, left, and Kabari Hinton, 10, both of Dallastown, ride the Tilt-a-Whirl at the York Fair in York, Sunday, Sept. 18, 2016. Dawn J. Sagert photo

Heat: While by Sunday the fair had managed to miss any major rainfall, Froehlich said the heat had an impact on people coming.

AccuWeather reported highs in the 90s the first two days of the fair and highs in the 80s through Thursday, while on Friday and Saturday the highs were in the upper 70s.

The total attendance for the 2016 York Fair was 555,252, down slightly more than 3 percent from last year's total, fair spokesman Gene Schenck said in an email Sunday evening.

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Froehlich said he noticed on the first two days, many people were not coming to the fair until later in the day, between 5 and 8 p.m., because of the heat.

"The fair is still a success," he said.

He said they still have consistently more than 500,000 people in attendance throughout the fair. Last year, 574,865 people attended the fair.

Schenck also pointed out that last year was the 250th anniversary of the fair, and there were many special events associated with that anniversary.

This year's hearty York Fair attendance won't break record

Jason and Melissa Merica, of Hellam Township, own Merica's Smokehouse, which sells "York County's Finest BBQ," which Melissa Merica said has been available at the fair for more than 30 years.

Jason Merica said he thought the heat had an impact when the fair opened, specifically the first Friday and Saturday nights.

"Biggest thing about this, you can't beat Mother Nature," he said

Plenty to eat at York Fair this year

Despite the lower attendance numbers, Froehlich was still positive about this year's fair.

"I think it's been a very successful fair," he said.

He said he has already started planning things for next year's fair, but people would have to stay tuned to see what is being planned.

— Reach Christopher Dornblaser at cdornblaser@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @YDDornblaser.

Attendance: 

Friday, Sept. 9 — 66,029

Saturday, Sept. 10 — 57,112

Sunday, Sept. 11 — 86,364

Monday, Sept. 12 — 69,155

Tuesday, Sept. 13 — 20,434

Wednesday, Sept 14 — 21,657

Thursday, Sept. 15 — 36,909

Friday, Sept. 16 — 70,133

Saturday, Sept. 17 — 75,523

Sunday, Sept. 18 — 51,939

Total: 555,252