Written by Gabriel Dillard
The 2018 Big Fresno Fair saw record high numbers for a 12-day event, with new attractions helping to bring in more people.
“This year’s Fair was the best one yet! However, none of this could be accomplished without the support of our community who continues to make The Big Fresno Fair a tradition in their lives,” said John C. Alkire, CEO of The Big Fresno Fair. “Thank you for your continued support and we hope we made you proud.”
This year, the Fair saw 632,410 visitors, a 3.84 percent increase over last year, along with a 4.2 percent increase in concessions. The Jr. Livestock Auctions also experienced a record year thanks to strong community support for the 4-H and Future Farmers of America members showcasing their animals. Among them was 16-year-old Sierra FFA student Hayden Tarr, who was awarded the Supreme Grand Champion and the Supreme Reserve Grand Champion market hog, and then donated the proceeds from his second place finisher to the Central Valley Honor Flight. Add-ons brought this donation up to $36,000.
“Saturday at the Jr. Livestock Auction was incredible!” Alkire “What this young man did, then to see the community come out and bid up this pig, plus to have other 4-H and FFA students walk up one after the other to donate what money they had – it just warms your heart because these are our future leaders who have not only the work ethic, but have the compassion.”
The Fair saw big crowds in the Paul Paul Theater for the Table Concert Series with two sold out shows (Jon Pardi and Gabriel Iglesias), strong attendance for the second year of the Craft Beer Fest and the new Fall Wine Festival.
This year’s horse racing resulted in strong turnouts, drawing out sizable crowds over nine days, resulting in an increase of 6.24 percent on All Sources Live, which includes wagering both on-track and throughout Northern California. Carryovers during those nine days resulted in a large number of bets placed, including a mandatory Super Hi 5 payout in the 11th race, which had a pool $831,000, and paid out roughly $4,500 on a $25 bet.
Other new attractions available to fairgoers included the Let’s Play! Exhibit in Kids’ Town, Nerveless Nocks Thrill Show, Brad’s World Reptiles and the Tractor Tree, along with the new Legends of Boxing exhibit, Armenian Heritage exhibit and the Projection Map of Fresno in the Fresno County Historical Museum.
This was the 136th year of The Big Fresno Fair.