NC State Fair celebrates 2021 event despite low attendance

North Carolina

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Organizers are celebrating the 2021 NC State Fair despite seeing its lowest attendance total in more than a decade due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

With preliminary totals collected through Sunday, officials said the fair drew 821,463 people, a 12% drop from 2019, the year before the pandemic erupted, The News & Observer of Raleigh reported. Attendance this year dropped lower than any year since 2008, when 765,067 people flocked to the midway, rides and exhibits.

“The 2021 State Fair was absolutely wonderful and exceeded expectations,” N.C. Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler said in a news release. “It took a lot of hard work by a lot of people to put this on, but it was absolutely worth it. Seeing people enjoying themselves and experiencing a bit of normalcy was a great feeling.”

North Carolina chose not to ask fairgoers to wear masks or be vaccinated this year, though it urged both as COVID-19 precautions.

Saturday saw the highest attendance with 126,715 and Sunday was next with 102,135, the only days the fair reached six-figure attendance.

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