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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, August 6, 2015
Josh Cummings, Thurston County Fair Coordinator at (360) 754-4995 or CumminJ@co.thurston.wa.us
Theresa Reid, Thurston County Fair Event Coordinator at (360) 786-5453 or ReidT@co.thurston.wa.us

More than 26,000 Visitors Beat the Heat at the 2015 Thurston County Fair
Strong attendance at 144th fair despite near-100 degree temperatures

A total of 26,250 visitors defied sizzling temperatures in the 90s and had tons of good old fashioned fun at the 2015 Thurston County Fair. While attendance in 2015 was not as strong as the past two years, it's nearly equal to the attendance in 2009 when a record-breaking heatwave kept temperatures in the 90s during fair week.

"There's no denying that some Pacific Northwest residents begin to melt when temperatures pass the 90 degree mark. But in my book, more than 25,000 people coming to the event despite temperatures near 100 degrees is a success," said Josh Cummings, Thurston County's fairgrounds coordinator. "And the hot weather isn't the only story. We had more than 600 animal entries this year at the fair—that's double the number of animals entered in the 2009 fair. That's a huge success, and I think it demonstrates how deeply rooted the fair event is in this community."

Community participation in the Thurston County Fair has steadily grown in the last five years, making the Thurston County Fair one of the signature summer events in the South Sound region with a rich history that reaches back to 1871—before Washington was even a state. This year, 614 animals were entered to compete in various club and open class contests at the fair. In 2014, 585 animals were entered, and in 2009, 297 animals were entered.

The near-record heat was in full force on Friday, July 31 when 3,900 hearty fairgoers enjoyed fun in the sun and the fairgrounds recorded a high temperature of 102 degrees. The average high temperature in Lacey during the 2015 Thurston County Fair was a stifling 97 degrees, compared to an average fair week temperature of 89 degrees in 2014. Even the 2009 average high temperature of 93 degrees during fair week was below this year's mark.

2015 Thurston County Fair Attendance:
  • Wed, July 29 attendance – 7,900
    (9,450 in 2014 – 9,300 in 2013 – 8,400 in 2012)

  • Thu, July 30 attendance – 5,150
    (7,200 in 2014 – 6,500 in 2013 – 6,100 in 2012)

  • Fri, July 31 attendance – *3,900 (102 degrees)
    (6,300 in 2014 – 5,000 in 2013 – 5,100 in 2012)

  • Sat, Aug. 1 attendance – 5,200
    (7,850 in 2014 – 6,800 in 2013 – 5,700 in 2012)

  • Sun, Aug. 2 attendance – 4,100
    (5,900 in 2014 – 5,750 in 2013 – 3,500 in 2012)

Other 2015 Thurston County Fair Highlights:
  • The 26,250 fairgoers this year brought in an estimated $185,000 in revenue. While that's slightly less revenue than the 2014 and 2013 fair events, it is equal to the revenue brought in during the 2009 fair event when temperatures soared into the 90s and even above 100 degrees on opening day.

  • To help celebrate the 25th anniversary of the annual Market Animal Sale, all participants with animals that made weight were presented with a 25 year anniversary belt buckle. The 2015 Market Animal Sale brought in more than $81,000—that pushes the 25 year total revenue over $1.5 million, which has benefitted thousands of local 4-H and FFA youth over the years.

  • While overall attendance in 2015 was down compared to a much cooler 2014, the number of visitors who paid at the gate was up by 500 compared to last year. (Overall attendance includes season pass holders, vendors, volunteers and exhibitors. "Gate attendance" includes only those visitors who paid the daily admission price at the gate.)

  • Winners for this year's Dessert of the Day contests include:

    • Elizabeth Stottlemyre, 2015 winner of the Chocolate Cake Contest—Adult
    • Jacie Fabela, 2015 winner of the Chocolate Cake Contest—Youth

    • Sarah Osborne, 2015 winner of the Cookie Contest—Adult
    • Abby Salmon, 2015 winner of the Cookie Contest—Youth

    • Alyssa Cook, 2015 winner of the Spooner's Berry Best Pie Contest

    • Kathi Pugh, 2015 winner of the Cupcake Contest—Adult
    • Analiese Green, 2015 winner of the Cupcake Contest—Youth

Since 2009, the Thurston County Fair has been a self-funding program of Thurston County government, with all of its operations paid for by the revenue from fair week, along with revenue from weddings, parties, business meetings and a whole host of other events that are held at the Thurston County Fairgrounds throughout the year. If you're planning a party, business meeting, event or trade show, go to www.ThurstonCountyFair.org to find the fairgrounds facility that's the perfect fit for your event.

Join us at the Thurston County Fairgrounds for the Holiday Bazaar on November 27 and 28, the 2016 Secondhand Safari on May 7, and for the 2016 Thurston County Fair August 3–7. For more details about these events, facility rentals, and other events and occasions at the Thurston County Fairgrounds throughout the year, contact the Fair Office at (360) 786-5453 or visit www.ThurstonCountyFair.org.

"Picture Yourself at the Thurston County Fair!"
July 29 - Aug. 2


County Commissioners:

Carolina Mejia
District 1

Gary Edwards
District 2

Tye Menser
District 3