Mid-State Fair

Mid-State Fair had Cardi B and a day of free rides. Did that boost ticket sales?

Sold-out concerts, free carnival rides and a bunch of cool new attractions kept attendance strong at the California Mid-State Fair this summer.

An estimated 426,000 fairgoers passed through the gates of the Paso Robles Event Center from July 17-28, according to a fair news release. That’s compared to 428,615 people in 2017; total fair attendance in 2018 was “virtually identical” to the prior year, the fair said at the time.

Concertgoers purchased more than 76,000 tickets to see big-name acts including Lynyrd Skynyrd, Miranda Lambert, Old Dominion, Smokey Robinson and the Zac Brown Band, down from about 78,000 concert tickets in 2018.

For the second time in fair history, two performers had sold-out shows in the same year: rapper Cardi B, who made her fair debut July 20, and country star Blake Shelton, who played the following night.

Carnival rides and attractions generated $1.27 million in total revenue in 2019, a 3.3% increase from the previous year.

That’s quite a feat considering that carnival rides were free with fair admission on opening day of the fair.

Those weren’t the only things entertaining fairgoers.

New attractions at the 2019 fair included Camp Rattlesnake, a creepy-crawly animal exhibit complete with live alligators, lizards and snakes, and the Chill Zone, which featured fans, misters, a giant ice cube and an atmospheric ice saloon.

Revenue from fair livestock auctions dipped about 10% percent from 2018, totaling $2,336,682 for 869 animals, according to unofficial numbers. The Junior Livestock Auction raised a total of $1,954,282, the fair said, while the Replacement Heifer Sale garnered $382,400 in sales.

With 65 entries, the Industrial Arts Auction raised a record $150,000, a whopping 48% increase from the previous year.

The 75th annual California Mid-State Fair next year runs July 22 through Aug. 2. For more information, call 805-239-0655 or 800-909-FAIR (3247), or visit www.midstatefair.com.

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Entertainment editor Sarah Linn writes about all things fun, including movies, television, the performing arts, the visual arts and the best places to eat and drink in San Luis Obispo County. A graduate of Oregon State University, she has worked for The Tribune in San Luis Obispo for more than a decade and has earned multiple California journalism awards.