The State Department of Agriculture says 85 percent of surveyed fairgoers rated their satisfaction of the fair as excellent or good.
State Fair officials say they can measure the success of this year’s event using several metrics.
- Over 12,000 4-H livestock and static exhibits were entered by 4-H participants.
- There were more than 5,200 education entries in the Arts & Education Building, entered by students in public, private, and home schools.
- Approximately 700 kids from 33 public, private, and home schools participated in the SD’s Largest Classroom.
- The Read and Win program, sponsored by Ag Performance, celebrated reading achievements at schools and libraries. Through this program, 5,600 passes were distributed to 47 libraries and schools.
- The FFA Ag Adventure Center continued to add educational value to the fair and put a spotlight on agriculture. New interactive exhibits included bee keeping, soil health, and farm safety.
- More than 1,600 competitive exhibitors participated in various open class livestock and non-livestock competitions, entering more than 9,400 exhibits. Exhibitors took home more than $106,000 in premiums, ribbons, and awards.
Fairgoer spending on goods, beverage, specialty concessions, and carnival rides were up nearly 8 percent, totaling more than $2.6 million. Goldstar Amusements, the State Fair’s carnival provider, set a record for carnival gross sales, up 2 percent. Sales tax was up 6.8 percent, exceeding $224,000. Commercial exhibitors, concessionaires, and vendors showcased at the fair totaled 435. Gate revenue was up 2.7 percent and total attendance was 205,172.
“We had a wonderful fair. It is always encouraging and fulfilling to hear people say how much they enjoyed the fair,” said Peggy Besch, State Fair manager. “The most difficult and intangible metric to measure for success is the stuff memories are made of. Spending time with friends and family, celebrating family traditions, spending time outdoors, hands-on interaction with nature, animals, and people, and life-long learning are the most important elements in which all things should be measured. These are priceless!”
The 2019 South Dakota State Fair ran from Thursday, August 29, through Monday, September 2. Channel Seeds Preview night was Wednesday, August 28.