Word we get is no decision has officially been made yet on what happens to the number of days the state fair will run after next year. The expanded 17-day run was locked in for three years, which takes it through 2011. Apparently there will be a review before the new set of dates is locked in.
There were sighs of relief from some quarters when the fair ended last night, after 17 long days. From others, there were probably sighs of disappointment, just because they love fairs and would like to see it continue. This isn't an issue where everyone will be on one side.
For example, one barn director told us he liked the new format because it allowed them to hold all the junior shows on weekends. Before, some junior shows had to be during the week to get everything squeezed in to the 12-day previous run. With schools starting earlier almost all the time, that meant some exhibitors had to miss school to show in the junior shows at the state fair.
School starting early is a drain on crowds, and perhaps a strike against the longer runs on the flip side. It's difficult to plan a trip to the fair once school starts if you're planning to bring your kids, unless you're close enough to come in the evening and be back home so your kids can go to school the next day.
Attendance figures may play a part in the decision. Fair officials seemed pleased with the more than 900,000 who came through the gate sin 2009. Temperatures of 90 degrees or higher and heat indexes above 100 degrees on several of this year's fair days may have cut into that number for 2010. Final attendance numbers will tell the tale of the tape, so to speak. As on midway through the last week of the fair, attendance was running slightly behind one year ago. The middle weekend was extremely hot, and attendance was significantly reduced compared to that comparable weekend one year ago, when temperatures for the entire fair were much more bearable and people-friendly.
Do you think the fair should stay at 17 days for the future? Or do you think Hoosiers are better served with a 12-day state fair? Let us know at [email protected]. We'll keep an unofficial straw poll. If we get adequate response, we'll let both our Web searchers and fair officials know how your opinions play out.