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York Fair attendance drops by more than 100,000; organizers point to rainy weather as a factor

YORK — Attendance at the 2018 York Fair was down by more than 100,000, thanks in large part to the rainy weather that plagued Central Pennsylvania for the first half of the 10-day event, according to figures released by organizers Tuesday.

This year’s official attendance was 450,173, organizers say. Last year, the Fair drew 565,483 patrons.

Organizers point to the fact that more than 4.5 inches of rain fell in York County for the first five days of the Fair, and that there was the threat of rain in seven out of the 10 days the Fair was open.

“Pure and simple, it’s hard to compete with Mother Nature,” said York Fair CEO Michael Froehlich. “However, when the rain stopped, and the sun shined, fairgoers came out in big numbers. This speaks volumes of the quality of programming organizers of the York Fair put together this year.”

Froehlich pointed to the new addition of the Community Pavilion, which featured a diverse cast of local performers. The Ag Education Center also had new features that kept a steady flow of traffic through the building, organizers say.

The Grandstand entertainment accommodated a wide variety of performances, including Alice Cooper, Sesame Street Live, Gabriel “Fluffy” Iglesias, MercyMe, the American Idol Live Tour, 5SOS, the 3rd Annual Monster Truck Fall Bash, and a free demolition derby.

Food continues to be one of the main staples for fairgoers each year. This year, organizers say, the Fair had over a hundred different food options, including fifteen new food vendors to choose from.

Froehlich, who has had a leadership role with the Fair for 11 years, is stepping down as CEO at the end of 2018. He will be succeeded by Bryan Blair, a former general manager at the Elkhart County 4-H Fair and Agricultural Exposition in Goshen, IN.

Plans are already being developed for next year’s 2019 York Fair, which is scheduled for September 6 through 15.