WRAP-UP: High temps caused dip in fair attendance

Attendance fell at the Lorain County Fair for the third year in a row.

Fair board president Brian Twining said around 115,000 people attended the event for its 172nd iteration. That’s down from 118,568 admission tickets sold last year, which was a drop from 2015’s total of 125,718.

Like last year, Twining pointed to less than ideal weather conditions as the cause of the lesser gate.

“I don’t even want to go to the fair when it’s 92 degrees outside like that first day,” he said. “It is what it is. Rain and dark skies the next day didn’t help much either.”

Power was cut off to the fairgrounds around 4 a.m. last Tuesday morning so repairs could be made by the Wellington electrical department, which Twining said were done as a precautionary measure.

“The town of Wellington did a great job and got it done quickly for us,” he said. “We tip our hat to them. For that to happen right in the middle of fair week and get solved that quickly is a testament to their work. We were back up and golden after that. We’ve had power outages before but not to the point where we had to knock everything out.”

Paid attendance dipped to 113,000 in 2009 but gradually improved enough to average 130,000 per year between 2010 and 2014.

Twining said he and fair board members were happy with changes in traffic direction coming into and leaving the fairgrounds, with more drivers being directed to exit via Pitts Road.

“We always want to find ways to get people in and out quicker,” he said. “We talked about changing a few things with traffic at our meeting just after last year’s fair. That’s a meeting that involves the deputy sheriff, Wellington police, fire, and EMTs. It’s something we’ve done for about five years now to try and iron out issues while they’re fresh in our minds.”

What investigators called “excessive corrosion” caused an amusement ride’s car to detach in midair at the Ohio State Fair July 26 — killing one rider and injuring seven others.

Twining said he didn’t notice a drop in riders last week.

“We’ll go up against anyone with our safety record,” he said. “Our rides are inspected every day. Kim Meyers will not allow the rides to be turned on until he’s received a checklist from every operator. He’s had a system in place for over 10 years now that works very well for us.”

Jonathan Delozier can be reached at 440-647-3171 or @DelozierNews on Twitter.

By Jonathan Delozier