Successful 2022 Nebraska State Fair with attendance, sales up

The Nebraska State Fair had a nearly 8% increase in attendance over the 11-day event.
The Nebraska State Fair had a nearly 8% increase in attendance over the 11-day event.(Beatriz Reyna)
Published: Sep. 6, 2022 at 5:25 PM CDT
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GRAND ISLAND, Neb. (KSNB) - Clean up was underway Tuesday morning at Fonner Park as the Nebraska State Fair celebrated another successful year.

The fair finished its 11-day run in Grand Island with a 7.9% increase in attendance, with an estimated 287,367 guests.

State Fair Executive Director Bill Ogg said this was one of the most diverse lineups of entertainment he’s seen.

Genres included country, Christian, rap, Latino, oldies and comedy. Comedian Jeff Dunham led all the entertainment acts with 7,200 tickets sold.

He said the free grounds entertainment and animal attractions had large crowds throughout the run of the fair.

Ogg said the fair’s goal was to create an enjoyable experience.

”Important to us is the quality of the event we hosted,” said Ogg. “I feel our grounds were clean, they were safe. I think we did a much improved job of communicating to our people and our guests what to expect, and how best to enjoy their fair experience when they got here.”

Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 3 and 4, saw the largest crowds at the Fair.

Increases in sales were posted by Wade Shows Carnival, concessionaires and the Fair’s beverage department.

Guest approval of the fair’s new walk-around alcohol policy showed in higher sales and a reduction in alcohol related challenges. Beverage sales were up 37% and there were no alcohol-related incidents reported.

Ogg said this allowed people to explore the fair as a family.

“It was predicted that we would have fewer alcohol related incidences, and we had very few anyway, but it essentially eliminated them,” he said. “That was very wholesome actually, and I think it improved customer service decision.”

Ogg said Tuesday marked a sad day for the staff personally.

“I think we all were very engaged and worked hard to host our guests, and it’s just cleaning up and getting ready for Aksarben in two weeks,” he said. “More importantly it’s only 353 more days until the State Fair next year.”

Nebraska State Fair Board Chairman Bob Haag said the fair went very well from his perspective.

“I’m pleased to see the growth, but more pleased to see how much fun people were having at this year’s fair,” Haag added.

Planning for the 2023 Nebraska State Fair is already underway. Next year’s fair will be August 25 through September 4.