Mid-State Fair numbers down from last year, but auctions improve

General attendance drops 4.7 percent, and for concerts the decline is 19 percent

slinn@thetribunenews.comAugust 13, 2012 

The Mid-State Fair Junior Livestock Auction held at the Livestock Pavilion. Kaya McCasland, age 10 of Paso Robles smiles as she shows her Champion Hampshire pig while it's being auctioned. She fetched $8.50 per pound for the 235 lb. animal. Photo by: Laura Dickinson 7-28-12

LAURA DICKINSON — Special to The Tribune Buy Photo

The California Mid-State Fair saw a substantial dip in concert attendance this summer but enjoyed steadily improving livestock auction sales.

A total of 410,784 people passed through the gates of the Paso Robles Event Center between July 18 and July 29, fair organizers announced Monday, down 4.7 percent from the previous year.

Concert attendance fell considerably, to 67,561 from 83,772 in 2011 — a decrease of 19 percent.

Fairgoers spent about $1.04 million on food and drink, 2.3 percent less than in 2011, while carnival revenue remained steady at $500,000.

Meanwhile, the Junior Livestock Auction and Replacement Heifer Sale brought in $1.76 million, up about 25 percent from 2011. Although fair livestock sales have suffered in recent years, dropping as low as $1.26 million in 2009, they’ve increased every year since.

All of the 2012 numbers have yet to be audited. Fair CEO Vivian Robertson did not return calls for comment Monday.

However, in a news release, she praised the fair’s strong showing in 2012.

“We are grateful to once again finish with such solid numbers,” Robertson said. “Our highest priority is always proving a safe, fun, family-oriented environment, and we handily accomplished this goal with the tremendous support of our volunteers and staff.”

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