York Fair attendance rebounded from 2018 slump

Tina Locurto
York Dispatch
From left, Jennifer Petenbrink and Karina Ortiz, both of Hanover, and Riley Clark, 11, Brianna Carey, Alex Gamber, and Leah Clark, 9, all of Cumberland County, ride the Tilt-A-Whirl at York Fair in West Manchester Township, Friday, Sept. 13, 2019. Dawn J. Sagert photo

Attendance at the York Fair grew by 17% over 2018, a boost organizers attributed to a combination of good weather and a strong entertainment lineup that pushed numbers up.

Total attendance this year was 529,574 at the fair, which wrapped up Sunday. That's 79,401 more people from last year's total of 450,173.

In 2018, general admission dropped by 100,000 tickets compared to the previous year. 

"We have seen increases across the board in terms of gate admissions, concert ticket sales, ride armband/ticket sales and concessionaire receipts which indicates a very successful fair on every level," said Bryan Blair, CEO of the York Fair, in a release. 

This year's acts included Brad Paisley,  Darci Lynne, Bethel Music, Travis Tritt & The Charlie Daniels Band, and Brantley Gilbert.

Last day of the 2019 York Fair, Sunday, September 15, 2019.
John A. Pavoncello photo

The York Fair also hosted two free concerts, Let Freedom Ring and Fiera Latina. 

One of the newest additions to the fair, Heroes Hall, showed off several military grade vehicles and tanks. In addition, 1,802 fair guests who served in any branch of the military placed pins on a map of where they were stationed while serving. 

In 2018, the York Fair saw a drop of 100,000 drop in attendance that was primarily due to rain or the threat of rain for seven days, organizers said.

The York Fair announced in November 2018 that it will be moved to the summertime in order to boost attendance numbers and be rebranded as the York State Fair.

In 2020, the fair will be held from July 24 to Aug. 2.

Travis Tritt performs on the Bobcat Grandstand Stage, Thursday, September 12, 2019.
John A. Pavoncello photo

Blair has said the move will allow the fair to bring back some older traditions that have "perhaps disappeared in recent years." 

In addition, the warmer weather will encourage livestock exhibitors, "higher quality concert entertainment" and an increase in attendance from youth who will not be in school, Blair said.

— Reach Tina Locurto at tlocurto@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @tina_locurto.