by: Kristen Guilfoos
Amarillo, Texas - They came to the tri-state fair by the thousands but many did not come with their wallets open. The fair officially closed Saturday at midnight. The final numbers aren't in yet, but it's estimated that well over fifty thousand people walked through the gates at the fairgrounds.
They'll buy you everything from corn dogs to funnel cakes to cheese on a stick, but this year, despite the rather large crowds, people didn't cash in as many tokens as in years past.
Virgil Bartlett with the Tri-State Exposition says, "Went in Friday night, we were down a couple hundred thousand dollars from last year. Last year was an exceptional year. We were hoping we could match or beat that again, but we weren't able."
Butch Bingham has been cooking at the Tri-State Fair for nearly a decade, but says this year was noticeably less profitable than last year... And he's blaming it directly on the struggling economy.
"We've had some real good crowds, it's just people, you know, just don't have the extra money to spend."
But they did spend some money of course, and a portion of that money went to help out local organizations... Like the Caprock High School band, which benefits from one of the food stands on the Midway.
Melvin Sanders says, "Oh it's just something everybody ought to do. You know, we all oughta try to take care of our own, take care of our own kids, our own town."