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Guilderland Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, September 10, 2009

New acts praised
Attendance down at the Altamont Fair

By Philippa Stasiuk

 ALTAMONTDespite a week of sun, attendance to the Altamont Fair fell by around 17 percent.

Marie McMillan, the operations manager at the fair, cited the hot and humid weather that hit the Capital Region over the weekend as the reason why about 15,000 fewer people than last year attended the tri-county fair during its Aug. 11 to 16 run; about 74,000 attended.

Although attendance was lower, McMillan said the fair board received positive feedback about this year’s new entertainment offerings.

“The fair went great,” she said. “The Dog Magic tent was a big hit, which filled up every 45 minutes or so. Also, the firemen’s Hometown Heroes in Action, where different fire companies came forward this year to make the firemen’s museum more interactive, was great. All the demonstrations like the controlled burn were positive. It’s nice to have museums but I think it’s important to focus on new things in them.”

McMillan said it was difficult to estimate the number of people who came to the fair because various services and supplies that the fair needs are traded for tickets, making it hard to know the exact count at the gate.

Attendance hit a high in 2005 when the fair reported 92,251 attended; officials had blamed the rain in recent years for keeping fair-goers away. Attendance had climbed steadily earlier in the decade from about 55,000 in 2000.

Asked if the reduced attendance would affect next year’s planning for the fair, McMillan said no.

“We also do outside events with the purpose of offsetting and to help us through our budget process throughout the year,” she said. “We can’t just depend on the income from the fair. We have dedicated volunteers and our mission for the fair is historical and agricultural. We’ve been keeping at it since 1883 and there has only been a few years when there’s been a wonderful influx of money so we’re used to this.”

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