At a news conference this morning (Tuesday) the State Fair attendance was released after the first four days. This year’s attendance was 129,174, which is 7% higher than a year ago.
Joseph McDermott, executive director of the Nebraska State Fair said, “Friday, Sunday and Monday were higher than a year ago with Saturday lagging behind last year by 16%. We’re very pleased with where the numbers are currently, but we won’t make any predictions for the rest of the fair because there are too many variables, not the least of which is the weather.”
Concert crowds were also announced with Friday Nights’ Thomas Rhett concert drawing 9,876. Saturday’s Lady Antebellum drew 3,800 and Train saw 2,131 on Sunday.
Asked if the concert numbers were where he wanted them to be, McDermott said, “There is always a bit of a risk in picking just the right artist to appear at our fair. We know that country and classic rock are fairgoer favorites, but every now and again we want to depart from tradition and try other artists to see what the response will be.”
The weekend also saw the third annual Nebraska State Fair Marathon presented by Pump and Pantry. The male marathon winner was Geoffrey Terer of Colorado Springs, Colorado with a time of 2:25:44 and the female marathon winner was Kaci Lickteig from Omaha, Nebraska with a time of 3:16:55.
In the half marathon, the male winner was Edward Tabut from Anoka, Minnesota with a time of 1:07: 04 and the female winner was Stephanie Andre from Bixby, Oklahoma with a time of 1:22:24 .
The inaugural Bill Marshall Volleyball Classic was held on Friday and Saturday with a total of 24 high school teams and four National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) College Volleyball teams.
The Number five-ranked Hastings Broncos faced off against No. 1 Columbia, Missouri in their final game on Saturday. The two teams went five sets, with the Broncos finishing on top. It was a rematch from last season's national tournament, when the Cougars eliminated Hastings in five sets.
McDermott said, “It was a fabulous start to the Nebraska State Fair and a sampling of all the great things yet to come.”
The Nebraska State Fair is on now and runs through Labor Day.