Preliminary figures indicate that attendance was up at this year’s Abbotsford Agrifair, despite the previous announcement that the annual rodeo was being cancelled as a cost-saving measure.
Assistant manager Melanie Kish said the three-day attendance for this year’s fair, which ran July 29 to 31 at Exhibition Park, was approximately 30,000.
Last year’s fair was held over four days and, when the attendance is averaged out each day, the three-day equivalent in 2015 was about 27,000.
Kish said dollar figures are not yet available to indicate whether Agrifair made a profit this year, but treasurer Bob Street said the amount that had been budgeted for sponsorship was surpassed.
In February of this year, the board announced it was making some changes to the annual event following a $51,000 deficit from the 2015 Agrifair.
Among the changes was the cancellation of the 21-year-old Mighty Fraser Rodeo, which the board estimated would result in savings of between $75,000 and $80,000 for 2016. The event could return in the future.
Organizers also opted to reduce the fair from four days to three and introduced some new attractions, including the Fraserway RV Family Fun Building, roving entertainers and the Global FMX bike show.
President Ernie Silveri said sunny weather and top-notch entertainment contributed to a successful Agrifair this year.
“Our goal was to create an event our community would want to come out and see, and they came!” he said.
He said the gates were busy all weekend.
Vice-president Stephanie Nelson said this was the first year that media from Vancouver asked for accreditation to cover Agrifair, indicating that the board reached its goal of “getting the buzz out there.”