WEST ALLIS (WITI) – Wisconsin State Fair Park Officials are excited to announce the 2014 Wisconsin State Fair, presented by U.S. Cellular, once again celebrated a record-breaking year on many levels.
Both weekends brought out large crowds, including two of the highest paid attendance days in the history of the Fair. On Saturday, Aug. 2 attendance reached more than 128,000, and Saturday, Aug. 9 saw an even larger crowd of nearly 137,000. While the weekends drew large crowds, weekdays proved to be popular this year as well; each day of the Fair saw 70,000 – 137,000 people come through the gates to enjoy all of the fun the Fair offered in 2014.
In the end, 1,030,881 Fairgoers celebrated this monumental year together, the second year in a row that attendance has reached over one million. The attendance in 2013 reached 1,012,552, which was the largest reported overall Fair attendance since 1969.
“Wisconsin State Fair has long been considered one of the top Fairs in the United States by many measures, and achieving attendance of over one million two years in a row solidifies this even more,” stated Rick Frenette, chief executive officer of Wisconsin State Fair Park. “It is an honor to reach this landmark number again, showing how much people truly enjoy this historic 11 days that celebrates Wisconsin. I’d like to extend a sincere thank you to everyone who came out to enjoy the event, as well as our sponsors and partners who helped us make it another fantastic Fair.”
Chairman of the Wisconsin State Fair Park Board, John Yingling, reiterated this sentiment, adding “We are aware that another year of great weather helped us once again reach over one million in attendance, but beautiful weather does not necessarily mean people want to attend your event. There are many things people can enjoy on a beautiful summer day in Wisconsin, and the fact that these people chose to spend their time enjoying the Wisconsin State Fair is a testament to the quality of the event and the memorable experiences that our visitors have each year.”
The Wisconsin State Fair has a storied history of showcasing the agriculture industry in Wisconsin, and it is an honor for the staff and board to continue to share Wisconsin’s story with so many Fairgoers. While the Fair includes family-friendly attractions, exciting entertainment, and a vast array of food items each year, the event at its core is about showcasing an industry that generates more than $50 billion in economic activity yearly in Wisconsin.
More than 2,700 exhibitors participated in 2014 Fair competitions, some in multiple classes. This includes Open and Junior Class Livestock Shows as well as Horticulture, Textiles, Crafts, Culinary, Cheese, Meat, Wine and other miscellaneous competitions. Fairgoers enjoyed the beauty of 18,558 flowers and plants that were planted at the Fair Park. On Friday, Aug. 8 during the Draft Horse Hitch Show in the Case IH Coliseum, 17 Elite Six-Horse Hitches filled the Coliseum floor – the largest number of hitches at one time in the Coliseum in more than 30 years. This impressive display of 102 horses and their hitches made for a spectacular show, kicking off the final weekend of the Fair.
In addition to exciting attendance and agriculture statistics, many of the Fair’s partners and vendors reported record-breaking statistics as well. Here a few fun facts from some of the most beloved Fair attractions and foods.
Several admission promotions not only provided Fairgoers ways to save money but also contributed to notable causes. More than 31,952 patrons received discounted admission on opening day during Wells Fargo $2 Day benefiting Hunger Task Force, donating more than 111,000 lbs. of food, as well as $6,450 in cash donations to Hunger Task Force.
As part of Kohl’s Family Value Day on Monday, Aug. 4, more than 27,049 adults received admission for just $5 and almost 13,492 children ages 11 and under received FREE admission. In turn, Kohl’s Cares and the Wisconsin State Fair once again hosted an extremely successful “Fair Day” at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin on Tuesday, Aug. 5. The day featured Fair performers, Cream Puffs, Pig Races and more, all for the patients and families at Children’s Hospital.
On Wednesday, Aug. 6, as part of UW-Madison Day, more than 10,639 patrons received discounted admission and in turn donated 141 fifty-five gallon bags full of school supplies along with $40,000 in cash, all benefiting Milwaukee Public Schools. On the final day of the Fair, 9,850 Veterans and Military personnel and their families received free admission as part of Miller High Life Veterans & Military Recognition Day.
The annual Summer Reading Program, which awards free Fair admission to youth ages 6 – 11 who complete the program at any Milwaukee Public Library, allowed 6,150 children to enjoy the Fair for free this year.
Both the Governor’s Blue Ribbon Meat Products Auction and Governor’s Blue Ribbon Livestock Auction had record-breaking years as well. The Meat Products auction raised more than $150,000 for Wisconsin 4-H youth and youth programs. The Livestock Auction raised $313,350, shattering the previous record of $255,400 (2005) by $57,950, much of which will be used to award youth scholarships. The Blue Ribbon Cheese & Butter Auction also raised $28,965 for youth scholarships and dairy promotions at the Wisconsin State Fair.
Fairgoers took more than 125,000 slides down the Giant Slide this year, as well as more than 112,000 Sky Glider trips across the Fair Park. Almost 3,000 people were catapulted 170 feet into the air in the Ejection Seat, going from 0-70 miles per hour in less than 3 seconds. More than 18,500 young adults enjoyed the power jump trampolines, including two record-breaking days.
The Wisconsin Bakers Association sold a record-breaking 400,678 Original Cream Puffs, Arctic Glacier supplied our vendors with over 579,920 lbs. of ice and Catalano’s used 28,000 lemons to serve their refreshing lemonade to thirsty Fairgoers. In the Wisconsin Products Pavilion, the Real Wisconsin Cheese Grill sold more than 55,000 grilled cheese sandwiches, the Wisconsin Potato Growers served up over 58,000 baked potatoes, the Wisconsin Cattlemen’s Association sold nearly 14,000 rib eye sandwiches and Fairgoers enjoyed more than 20,000 pork chop sandwiches served by the Wisconsin Pork Producers.
The New Berlin Lions Club roasted and served nearly 107,000 ears of corn, Water Street Brewery sold 10,000 Chicken-n-Waffle Cones and 7,000 loaded Twister Dogs (both Sporkies Food Competition Finalists). Meat-lovers consumed 5850 Bacon Wrapped Cherrywood Smoked Pork Belly on a Stick at Saz’s Ribs and more than 6,000 Lug Nuts at the new Knucklehead location on Central Avenue.
It was also a landmark year for the Fair’s social media presence. The Fair has nearly 133,000 Likes on its Facebook page, more than 14,000 Twitter followers and more than 1200 Instagram followers. Nearly 18,500 Fairgoers downloaded the Fair’s new mobile app this year.
The 2015 Wisconsin State Fair, presented by U.S. Cellular, will take place Aug. 6 – 16, 2015. The Fair offers a unique experience to all who attend and is an exceptional value with 30 FREE entertainment stages, exciting rides and games in SpinCity, thousands of animals, endless family activities, events, contests, and culinary delights. For the most up-to-date information, “stick with us” at WiStateFair.com, /WiStateFair on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest and /theWIFair on YouTube.