Despite cool weather and a tepid economy, the Napa Town and Country Fair registered an unexpected boost in attendance last week.
The five-day fair attracted 41,511 paying customers, an increase of 2.6 percent or 1,051 from the year before, said Joe Anderson, Napa Valley Exposition CEO.
While the jump in attendance was not huge, it ran counter to his expectation that patronage might drop 5 percent in this weak economy, Anderson said.
A combination of factors may explain why families were willing to plunk down $10 for an adult and $7 for juniors, Anderson said.
Unable to afford to travel to Disneyland or other far-flung destinations, many people may have stayed home this summer. The fair became a cheap vacation, he said.
Also, most kids are returning to school this week, so families may have decided to stick close to home last week, Anderson said.
Anderson said he is still tallying revenues and expenses, but it seemed likely that the fair would be in good financial shape when all the figures are in.
The Expo raised ticket prices $2 last year, the first increase in seven years, which contributed to a 4.3 percent drop in attendance last summer. Prices were unchanged this year.
The largest attendance was on Saturday when 10,799 people passed through the Expo’s turnstiles. Sunday was the second-largest day with 9,236 admissions, Anderson said.
Danny Gokey, an “American Idol” finalist, drew the biggest crowd of all the acts at the Plaza stage, Anderson said. The Demolition Derby, which required an additional admission fee, drew slightly more fans for its two shows, he said.
Anderson said he received many compliments about the new Plaza Stage area. “It was the ‘ahh’ factor of the fair,” he said.
Bidders spent $656,000 at the Junior Livestock Auction, which was $118,000 or 18 percent more then in 2009. There were 357 animals sold at auction, four fewer than the year before, Anderson said.
Erica Vietor of 4 Napa Future Farmers of America raised the grand champion market lamb, which sold for $15.50 per pound to Wilson Feed and Ranch Supply.
Pookie McGlothern of Las Amigas 4-H raised the grand champion steer, which sold for $4.25 per pound to Allied Propane Service and Napa Community Bank.
Rico Abreu of St. Helena FFA raised the grand champion market hog, which sold for $40 a pound to Stadelhofer Construction.
Morgan Kiser of Napa’s 4-Leaf Clover 4-H raised the grand champion market goat, which sold for $21 per pound to Randal Wiig Vineyard Development.
Robert Aragon of Napa’s 4-Leaf Clover 4-H raised the grand champion broiler meat pen, which sold for $400 to Allied Propane.
Baily Brady of Napa’s 4-Leaf Clover 4-H raised the grand champion turkey meat pen, which sold for $1,400 to Bruce Tucker Construction.
Baylee Diegel of Napa FFA raised the grand champion rabbit meat pen, which sold for $700 to Dr. and Mrs. Thomas Paukert.
Jane Bennett of Calistoga won 2010 Homemaker of the Year.
In the Demolition Derby, the Main Event winners on Saturday were: Mike Meyers of Napa, first; Ryan Skidmore Jr. of Benicia, second; Pete Peralta of Napa, fourth, and Nate Hoskings of Benicia, fifth.
Sunday’s Main Event winners were: Gloria Peralta of Napa, first; Bryan Regassi of Greenfield, second; Mike Meyers of Napa, third, and Jason Barnes of Napa, fourth.
The Wild Women’s Demo Derby winners were: Shelly Babb of Caruthers, first; Tia Everett of Santa Rosa, second, and Gloria Peralta of Napa, third.
Adult karaoke winners were: Jessica Adlawan, first; Raelynn Whitmire, second, and Kristen VanDyke, third.
Junior karaoke winners were: Juliet Jones, first; Naomi Barrera, second, and Glen Williams, third.
Decorated Lobby honors went to Bank of Napa. Community Projects Inc. received the Decorated Window award.
Winners of Sunday’s fair parade were:
• Auto: Allied Propane, first; KUIC 95.3, second, and Military Vehicle Collection of the North Bay, third.
• Pedestrian: Bobby Knight, first; Clo the Clown, second, and Napa Pepperettes, third.
• Equestrian: Jesus Marron and Rancho Naranjo, first; Taqueria La Jerezana, second.
• Marching Band: Vintage High School.
• Floats: Operation w/Love From Home, first; Napa Saints Youth Cheerleading, second, and 4-Leaf Clover 4-H, third.
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