Fair breaks all-time attendance record Tuesday

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Katherine Krueger
Wednesday, July 24, 2013

JANESVILLE—A perfect storm of factors—the right weather, entertainment and carnival special—made Tuesday a record-shattering attendance day at the Rock County 4-H Fair.

Fair officials said 30,667 were admitted Tuesday, making it the biggest single-day crowd on the books. The last time attendance got close to that was when 28,395 turned out in 1995 on the day Trisha Yearwood performed.

Tuesday night provided the right conditions for extremely high numbers at the fair, fair board member Karen O'Leary said.

The Rock County Sheriff's Department, which had to call in extra deputies to control traffic around the fairgrounds, estimated the crowd at country act Florida Georgia Line's performance at 8,500 alone.

All the people in a concentrated area clogged cell phone towers, and O'Leary said it was tough to get a call to go through while on the grounds. Some people in line at 6 p.m. did not get through the gates until 9:30 p.m., she said.

Tuesday's midway promotion also allowed ticket holders to pay only one ticket per ride, which Maureen Fox-Rusch, fair board secretary, said may also have boosted high attendance.

She said it was the biggest crowd she had ever seen on the grounds.

“I think we had perfect everything,” Fox-Rusch said. “We hope the week holds, we're all hoping the weather holds and we've got great entertainment headed our way…I think we'll have a quality fair.”

Record attendance for the fair came in 1998 when 131,788 walked through the gates.

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