Fair attendance, revenues up

This year’s Montana State Fair, held at the Expo Park, brought in the most revenue of any fair since Cascade County resumed management of the facility in 2009.

With the “Keepin’ It 406” theme, the 2017 fair in Cascade County, brought in $1,745,092. That’s up 12 percent from last year.

High temperatures during the weeklong event apparently didn’t deter fairgoers, but the most people attended on Saturday, Aug. 5 with 12,774 guests when the temperature topped out at 67 degrees.

Total paid guests at the 2017 Montana State Fair was 71,388, up from 65,906 in 2016. Total revenue was $394,133 and fair gate admission was up 9 percent from last year’s total of $361,561, according to a release from the county.

The Mighty Thomas Carnival also set a record on July 29 with $103,194 in revenue. Over the nine day event, the carnival grossed $622,879, up about $10,000 from 2016, according to Montana Expo Park. The carnival hasn’t increased prices of the rides since 2014.

Food concessionaires grossed $721,119, an increase of 8.3 percent over 2016.  The busiest day for food vendors was the last day of the fair when they grossed $105,347.

About 770 exhibitors had more than 5,408 competitive exhibits and were awarded $47,112. The number of animals sold at the Junior Livestock Sale was also up this year with 49, compared to 41 animals in 2016. The sale grossed $49,467, up from $39,286 last year.

Rodeo attendance dropped by about 250 from last year, but the total payoff for the PRCA Big Sky Pro Rodeo was $124,582.

The night show lineup brought in $499,869 this year.  Comedian Gabriel Iglesias had a crowd of 3,124 and country acts Brett Eldredge and Old Dominion brought in 2,626 and 2,721 respectively. Shinedown was the most attended concert this year with 3,856.

According to a county release, “the community asked for rock and rock and rock fans positively supported Shinedown. Rock is back!!!”