Fair officials: Rain played role in attendance dip
2011 Walworth County Fair attendance
Wednesday, Aug. 31: 16,862
Thursday, Sept. 1: 16,775
Friday, Sept. 2: 17,168
Saturday, Sept. 3: 17,234
Sunday, Sept. 4: 43,551
Monday, Sept. 5: 29,087
ELKHORN The dogs were a hit.
The weather was not.
The 2011 Walworth County Fair featured five days of sunny weather and one very long, all-day rain that put a damper on attendance figures.
Attendance totals for the six-day fair come to 140,677. That's down from last year's total of 150,648.
On Friday, conditions were extremely hot and humid, with the heat index reaching into the high 90s.
Then on Saturday, it rained steadily until early evening. About 17,234 people came through the gates that day.
"We usually have about 33,000 on Saturday, and it will be hard to recoup from that," said Susan Pruessing, marketing and public relations manager for the fair.
Even so, Saturday's attendance numbers are significant because most people didn't arrive on the grounds until later in the day. The big draw was the Rodney Adkins concert on Saturday night.
"The grandstands were full," Pruessing said. "It had stopped raining and then it started to rain lightly, and people didn't move."
Despite the attendance figures, fair organizers had plenty to celebrate this year.
New features that were popular with fairgoers this year included:
-- Sheep herding demonstrations by Shannon Wolfe and her dogs. Wolfe's Border collies efficiently moved a group of sheep through colored barrels and from one end of the field to the other. The dogs responded to the most brief of commands and whistles.
-- The blue ribbon art auction. Youths who received a blue ribbon in an art project were given the option of auctioning their work. Traditionally, only those with animal projects took part in auctions.
-- Rentals of electric carts and wheelchairs that helped people with disabilities get around the fair with ease.
-- The opening of the butterfly house in Kiddieland. The house featured a variety of native Wisconsin butterflies.