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Fair Sees Record-Breaking Attendance in 2012

Over a half-a-million fairgoers came to fair this summer and ate 123,596 corn dogs and 10,322 deep fried foods. What is your favorite fair memory for the 100th year of the Alameda County Fair? Share your pictures with us.

534,577 fairgoers “Made Memories Here” at this year’s historical centennial
celebration. Continuing a record setting pace, this number represents an approximate 18% increase over 2011, and, is the largest recorded attendance in history, announced Fair organizers.

The previous attendance record was set in 2011 at 452,747. In 2009, the Alameda County Fair was recognized as the fastest growing Fair in North America (there are more than 3,000 Fairs in North America.)

The Alameda County Fair (ACF) is currently ranked as the 39th largest fair in the nation and the largest event in the East Bay Area.

Record attendance drove record high food sales and Butler Amusements, the Fair’s Carnival Ride Operator, also had its best year.

Of the families and enthusiasts from throughout the region, many came to satisfy their annual craving for a signature corndog or funnel cake; to watch the spectacular fireworks shows, to participate in eating contests or see a favorite concert. Some came just to eat food on-a-stick or anything deep-fried.

Alameda County Fair (ACF) officials are extremely pleased with their impressive attendance increase in 2012.

Special promotions helped drive attendance, including a $1.00 admission on opening day and $1.00 carnival rides which set an opening day attendance record; $2 Tuesdays and the Fair’s Feed The Need Food Drive resulted in 39,189 lbs of donated food for the Alameda County Community Food Bank. Additionally, more than 1,200 volunteers helped package 130,000 meals for non-profit Kids Against Hunger, most of which will be stored onsite at the Fairgrounds for future emergency needs in Alameda County.

“We want to thank the more than half-a-million guests who made memories at the record breaking 100th Alameda County Fair,” said Rick Pickering, CEO of the Alameda County Agricultural Fair Association. “As a nonprofit organization that receives no tax support, we are pleased to provide our community with local affordable edu-tainment. We are once again honored and humbled that so many people chose to have fun at the Fair this summer.”

New and returning attractions and events such as the RAY: solar powered remote control car races, Storyville, Sudsy’s Barn, Thank A Farmer Magic Show, World of Music, All Alaskan Pig Races and Wool Warriors Only shows played a big part in this year’s success.

Concert performances by acts including: Lonestar, Tower of Power, Rick Springfield, 38 Special, Salt N Pepa, The Temptations, Morris Day and The Time and Kellie Pickler were filled to capacity.

Other popular attractions were the Fair’s AgVenture Park featuring agricultural edu-tainment and Festival Square’s themed weekends: “Spice of India” “Made in America,” and “Festival Latino.” Highlights of the Festival Square included Samosa Rolling Contest, Hot Dog Relay Contest, BBQ Rib & Chicken Cook-Off Contest and Tamale Contest.

A variety of dance lessons, cooking tips, cultural music, competitive food-judging presentations and demonstrations rounded out the Fair’s potpourri of offerings. “Competitive exhibits, animals and agricultural elements of our Fair continue to be crowd favorites,” Pickering noted. “We are also happy to report that 143 dogs were given a new life through the dog adoption program, breaking last year’s record of 121 dogs. These dogs had previously been scheduled to be euthanized and were featured at the award winning Puppy Party Palooza attraction.”

The Live Horse Race Meet generated very strong numbers. Scheduling enhancements offered improvements to the horse racing event. By not racing on Wednesdays, the Fair was able to provide larger fields of horses on Thursdays through Sundays, resulting in only a 1% decrease in on-track wagers - bucking the National trend of double digit decreases.

Due to a shortage of thoroughbred horses in California, the Fair has strategically reduced the number of mid-week race days over the last two years, in an effort to have more horses available for the weekend crowds.

Although there was a 4% reduction in the number of races in 2012 (115 races in 2012, compared to 119 races in 2011), the overall amount wagered at “on-track” was only 1% less than in 2011, at a time when racing across the Nation has experienced upwards of 10% decreases.

According to Stephen Chambers, Executive Director of Western Fairs Association (WFA), “Back to back record years are a testament to the Alameda County Fair’s ability to bring together and showcase the best of their community. Their creative programming, innovation, and extensive community outreach continues to set an example for all to follow.” As a major trade association, WFA
represents hundreds of Fairs across the United States and Canada.

Other notable ACF 2012 figures include:

  • Total Entries of Competitive Exhibits – 17,012 up .04%
  • Total Exhibitors – 4,321 up 2.2%
  • Jr. Livestock Auction - $565,714 up 1% (down just 1 lot from 2011)
  • Small Animal Sales - $47,024 up 37%
  • Fine Art Sales – $17,130 up 60%


Fun Food facts:
Corn Dogs – 123,596 consumed
Funnel Cakes – 37,918 consumed
Shaved Ices – 15,852 consumed
Turkey Legs – 11,166 consumed
Cinnamon Rolls – 7,882 consumed
Deep Fried Oreos – 4,598 consumed
Deep Fried Fruity Pebbles – 2,873 consumed
Deep Fried Watermelon - 2,851 consumed

29,511 Facebook Fans
Twitter Followers – 1,530

A complete list of Competitive Entry Winners will be posted on the Fair’s website by month’s end.

Find everything from the fair you may have missed on our fair topic page. If you have fantastic photos from the fair add them to our photo gallery. Amazing parade pics can be added to our parade photo gallery.

Big stories for 2012:

What is your favorite fair memory for the 100th year of the Alameda County Fair? What deep fried food did you eat? Favorite ride?

Patch us your comments in the comments section below. Share your fair photos with us.

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