Vendors hope for better attendance during final weekend
Overall attendance at the fair continues to be down. The sold-out Jason Aldean grandstand concert did help things on Friday, but as our Katie Gibas reports, many vendors are still concerned about the numbers.
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NEW YORK STATE FAIR -- It seems to be a tale of two cities when it comes to business at the fair. Some say that it is better than ever.
"Business has been great. Its as good as last year. And this pavilion here has had lots of traffic. Others say its been down a bit, but we haven't noticed it," said Bruce Baker, Foot Specialist.
"Our sales are better than they were last year. We had an expectation. We increased the amount of books by 20 percent, and now we still need to get even more books. So, we're doing better," explained Dean Lungren, SaveAround Sales Representative.
But, with attendance down about 90,000 from last year, there are many businesses that are feeling the effects. Fair Director Dan O'Hara said the numbers have actually been ideal.
"Sometimes too many people can create an issue for vendors. If you're walking in the Center of Progress and there's too many people, its difficult to look at a product and examine it before you make the purchase," O'Hara explained.
According to some vendors, business has been absolutely terrible, and they say they hope to recoup some of their losses in this final weekend. Several said that the dark nights at the grandstand are hurting business. But, they hope it will rebound after the Jason Aldean concert, which drew about 17,000 people to the fair.
"I expect there should be a lot more traffic. When you have a name like Mr. Aldean helping traffic flow at the fair here, it just gets everybody aware that the fair is here and that they want to come see it," noted Baker.
"A lot of times, they wait until the last weekend to make their final purchases. And the Labor Day is coming up, so we're expecting a lot of people," said Stacey Winheld, Simply Gifts Family Inc. Owner.
Only time will tell if it will be enough to recoup the 90,000 fairgoer shortfall.