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2014 Delaware State Fair Summary Press Release

07/30/2014

2014 DELAWARE STATE FAIR SUMMARY PRESS RELEASE

Harrington, DE – July 30, 2014
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

A true Delaware and American Tradition, The Delaware State Fair is a place where traditions and summer rituals were celebrated for ten days. The 2014 Delaware State Fair returned to strong attendance numbers with almost 282,000 fairgoers visiting the fair, up over 25% from last year.  The combination of great weather, a mix of new entertainment offerings, a strong concert lineup and a new multi-day discounted gate pass helped the Fair rebound from last year’s numbers.
 
“We had a fantastic fair this year by all measurements” commented General Manager Bill DiMondi. “Staff was busy putting the finishing touches on a brand new plaza and poultry barn just days before our opening on Thursday July 17th.” He continued by noting the significant positive effect that mild temperatures and dry skies played into this year’s success: “…even the old-timers here at the Fair when asked, couldn’t remember such an extended string of mild, dry days and cool nights that had women and children sporting sweaters and hoodies…we were so lucky. This year’s 95th running of the Delaware State Fair has got to go down in the record books as the best Fair in recent memory!”
 
The 2014 Delaware State Fair’s Summer Concert Series in the M&T Bank Grandstand enjoyed two sell out and one near-sellout shows and a return to more traditional forms of entertainment like the Delaware Volunteer Firefighter’s sponsored Pro Rodeo Roundup and a second night of demolition derby.
 
This year’s entertainment lineup featured two sell out shows from Lady Antebellum and Brantley Gilbert with a near sell out show from Keith Urban. Other shows offered were Christian artist Jeremy Camp with Britt Nicole, pop rock fans were entertained by Train and the Fair returned to offering a free grandstand show aimed at pre-teens featuring McClain which was well attended and appreciated by families who sought to stretch their summer entertainment budgets. 
 
Plans are already underway to craft a super lineup for 2015. “We already have three offers in for artists that, if confirmed could lead to another record year in the M&T Bank Grandstand” hinted GM DiMondi.
 
On the carnival side, The Wade Shows provided 55 rides and attractions with the carnival gross exceeding  $1 million, which was up 18% compared to 2013. New in the ride lineup was a new coaster called The Crazy Mouse and another extreme ride called the Delusion.
 
There were several significant improvements to the grounds unveiled this year that proved to be very popular to this year’s fairgoers. On Thursday July 17th, Fair Board President Ron Draper officially opened the new Plaza centrally located on the fairgrounds. The new Discover Bank Plaza is over an acre in size and featured live entertainment throughout the days and nights, seating for over 400 people and an assortment of new food options. “It was nice seeing the Discover Bank Plaza filled with families enjoying themselves,” said Fair President Ron Draper.  He continued, “It was full almost all the time, and was quickly and widely embraced by fair patrons as the plaza returned to being the focal point of the fair experience as it was many years ago.”
 
Governor Jack Markell officiated a ribbon cutting ceremony on Governor’s Day Thursday July 24th marking the opening of the new poultry and rabbit barn located in the northeast corner of the  fairgrounds near US Route 13. The new and expanded quarters were home to almost 1,225 chickens and rabbits, up almost 30% over 2013 in addition to housing one of the fair’s most popular exhibits for young children, the “Peeps” experience where young children can see and hold newly hatched chicks.
 
2014 also saw the return of an Antique Machine Showcase that ran all day Friday July 18th and which featured agricultural craft demonstrations and tractor square dancing. The Birthing Center also returned this year to rave reviews as families witnessed the birth of calves and piglets during the last three days of fair.
 
Concessions Manager Robin Rockemann introduced this year’s adult fairgoers to The Roost, a shady comfortable oasis for adults to relax and enjoy local craft beers and wines served up daily from 3PM to 11PM along with a healthy dose of live music from local musicians Sol Knopf, Ty Sherwood and the Tydewater Band, and The Clifford Keith Band. Ms Rockemann said: “I appreciate the Board’s willingness to offer this form of adult entertainment which proved to be one of the most popular adult destinations on the fairgrounds and boasted standing-room-only crowds each evening as fairgoers relaxed in advance of the evening concerts.”
 
Assistant General Manager Danny Aguilar commented on the Fair’s continued commitment to offer great entertainment for the price of admission while creating new ways to communicate the various entertainment offerings and schedules throughout the ten days of the fair. “The creation of a new mobile app allowed us to reach over 8,000 fairgoers and highlight daily activities like a calf being born in the new and improved birthing center.  Every year the fair continually improves grounds entertainment throughout the fairgrounds by finding new performers from all over the country and beyond,” says Aguilar.
 
This year’s new grounds attractions included the Delaware Electric Co-Operative’s Lineman Rodeo Competition and Demonstration, Dueling Pianos, Junk Rock, Amtrak Exhibit Train, and Paz the Hockey Juggler.  Circus Hollywood, the racing pigs, two petting zoos, a menagerie of exotic animals including Twiggs, the giraffe and Catherine Hickland, the world renowned hypnotist returned again this year. “In all, over the ten days of fair, patrons were treated to over 775 hours of programmed entertainment which was provided at no additional cost beyond gate admission, not to mention all of the livestock competition and judging including the annual Livestock Extravaganza” said Assistant GM Aguilar.  
 
Competitive exhibits including livestock reigned supreme at this year’s fair and remained a huge attraction to the young and old alike with 285 horses, 737 goats, 420 sheep, 357 swine, 96 beef cattle, 184 dairy cattle and 1225 poultry/rabbits present and accounted for on the grounds this year. The number of animals exhibited in the poultry department was up 29%, goats were up 2% and the beef and dairy departments saw an increase of 4% and 8% respectively.
 
There were a total of 3,198 exhibitors (up 4% over last year) who were responsible for 44,476 entries across all departments (livestock and non-livestock) at the fair this year. The number of entries was up 142% in the Homebrew Competition and up 15% in the Flower Department. The number of exhibitors in the Flowers, Culinary, Childrens’ and 4-H Departments were up 26%, 20%, 16% and 11% respectively compared to 2013.   
 
The Junior Livestock Auction, which represents the culmination of an exhibitor's full year of hard work and dedication, completes an important early agribusiness education program for many of our livestock exhibitors. This year, the auction experienced a record 10% increase in the proceeds compared to the best previous year on record. A record-breaking total of almost $202,000 was raised and distributed to youth exhibitors after selling 137 animals. This compares favorably to the previous all-time high of $183,000 raised in 2013.
 
The Fair played host to a record 57 corporate sponsors this year. New sponsors for the 2014 Fair were Pepsi, Delaware Volunteer Firefighter’s Association, Carton Council, Chick-fil-A, Amtrak, Burke Equipment, Peninsula Oil, Hot Tubs Inc., Bud Light - NKS Distributors, Choose Health, Fun Fit Vibe, Delaware Republican Party and the Route 1 PAC.   Other corporate sponsors included M&T Bank, Food Lion, Delaware Electric Cooperative, Delaware Lottery, Discover Bank, Grotto Pizza, among several others. According to Danny Aguilar, “Continued support provided by sponsors allows the Fair to provide our patrons with a variety of great entertainment”.
 
The third annual Food Lion Hunger Relief Day showed again how a sponsor contributes not only to the Fair but the community as a whole. Fairgoers were given another opportunity to exchange five Food Lion brand canned goods for free admission to the Fair on Monday July 21st. Nearly 22,000 pounds of canned goods were brought to the fairgrounds that day and distributed to Delaware’s needy.
 
“This years fair will certainly be one to remember as we reflect back on the staff & volunteer’s hard work, the beautiful weather, increased livestock exhibits and the great overall entertainment offered at this year’s fair.  The Board of Directors are incredibly excited with success of 2014 and are eager to begin preparations for the 2015 Delaware State Fair,” commented the President of the Delaware State Fair Board of Directors Ron Draper.
 
The fair dates for the 2015 Delaware State Fair are: Thursday July 23, 2015 through Saturday August 1, 2015.
 
For further information please contact Danny Aguilar at 302-632-4991 or 
danny@thestatefair.net.