Officials Say This Year's Fair a Success, Despite Low Attendance

Well over a hundred thousand people have visited the Tri-State Fairgrounds over the past nine days.

But fair officials say they're already looking at improvements for next year.

The Tri-State Fair has set attendance records year after year for most of this decade.

But this year could change that trend.

"We're down a little bit, we're at about 135 to 140 thousand. Last year we were at 154 thousand through the gates so we don't know if we'll get to it but certainly we'll be very close to it," said Virgil Bartlett, the general manager of the fairgrounds.

With a record day Monday and good weather all week, Bartlett points to the economy as one reason for the possible drop in attendance.

"With the way fuel prices are and the way food prices are we feel very luck to have done what we've done," he said.

The economic impact of the fair can be felt beyond the barriers of the fairgrounds.

"So it impacts everything from the restaurants on the east side of town, to gas stations and retail outlets all across the city," said Eric Miller, the head of the Amarillo Convention and Visitors Council.

"It takes it all of us working together to make it work. If it was just a carnival it wouldn't work, if it was just a rodeo it wouldn't work," said Bartlett.

He says, along with attending other fairs, every year his workers analyze the Tri-State Fair in order to make improvements.

So if you didn't make it this year, he says it's only 12 more months until a better fair next year.