The California Mid-State Fair in Paso Robles sold more concert tickets this year than ever before, thanks in part to two sold-out shows by country superstar Garth Brooks, a fair spokesman said Thursday. Attendance overall was slightly higher than last year.
Concertgoers snapped up a total of 91,030 tickets to see big-name acts including John Mayer, Keith Urban and Zac Brown Band, an impressive 21.6 percent boost from last year, according to a news release from Tom Kefurry, who handles sponsorships and publicity for the fair. In 2016, a total of 74,845 concertgoers crowded into the Chumash Grandstand Arena.
About 428,615 people attended the fair during its run July 19 through 30, according to an unofficial tally. That compares to more than 410,000 a year ago.
Fairgoers spent $555,500 on carnival rides and games, up 1 percent from 2016.
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Food sales saw a 14 percent increase in 2017, and beverage sales jumped more than 19 percent, the fair said. Sales totals were not immediately available.
The Junior Livestock Auction, held at the fair’s new Paso Robles Pavilion, was a success as well, with 4-H and FFA students selling 851 animals for a total of $2,483,911. That’s a 2.3 percent increase from last year’s livestock sales.
In addition to a new carnival provider, Helm and Sons Amusements, that brought new rides and cheaper tickets, this year’s fair featured a revamped food court and fresh attractions such as a petting zoo, pony rides and the Wild West Turkey Stampede. New events included the Tractor & Truck Pull and the Strongest Man and Woman Competition.
But the biggest draw was Brooks, who performed two shows with wife Trisha Yearwood on July 27 at the Paso Robles Event Center.
In June, ticket buyers — the majority of them local fans — snapped up all 14,875 seats for Brooks’ first fair concert in less than 30 seconds, it making it the fastest-selling show in fair history. Concertgoers and resellers repeated the feat less than a week later, resulting in a second sold-out show.
Keffury said this year’s fair concert sales beat a record set in 2011, when 80,576 concert tickets were sold.
That record comes as the fair nears its 50th year presenting musical acts. Keffury said the concert series started in 1969 with just one show: a performance by country legend Buck Owens.
The next California Mid-State Fair runs July 18 through 29, 2018.