A different measure of success

Well, the Fair is over and the Fairgrounds is slowly transforming from a bustling mini-city to empty buildings and parking lots. The press office has moved from our cramped quarters in the Kerr Scott Building to our individual offices in downtown Raleigh, ready to settle in for a long winter’s nap (we wish!). There are plenty of boxes left to unpack and we need a day or two to decompress before we start documenting the good and the not-so-good about the 2008 N.C. State Fair and start looking ahead to Oct. 15-25, 2009.

Despite what some media outlets might have led you to believe, we are thrilled with the outcome of the 2008 State Fair. There are a lot of factors that come into play to determine a successful State Fair. Attendance is one of them, and as Brian Long (aka FlyingBob) said in today’s N&O, “You can’t find too much to quibble with when more than 700,000 people come out.” We had no serious ride accidents, despite having the largest Midway ever – 114 rides. But the biggest indicator was on people’s faces – and that’s the smiles. People were having fun, and that’s the biggest measure of success in our books.

Some other milestones at this year’s Fair:

  • The Fair opened a day earlier this year, on Thursday, Oct. 16. It was the first time since 1986 that the Fair added a day.
  • The Midway featured 114 rides, the most ever.
  • In addition to Sunday’s attendance record, the State Fair posted its largest-ever crowd for a Tuesday, 71,199, which beat the previous record of 69,817, set just last year.
  • The Fair collected used vegetable oil to convert into biodiesel for use at agricultural research stations operated by the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. Organizers were anticipating collecting about 8,000 gallons of used vegetable oil.
  • Christian rapper Toby Mac performed a sold-out show in Dorton Arena on Oct. 18.
  • The N.C. State Fair was the first state fair ever played by celebrity chef Bobby Flay, who appeared in Dorton Arena on Oct. 20.

About Firecracker

Firecracker (aka Jen Kendrick) Appears as a guest blogger with a special 22-year history with the State Fair. She now works with the N.C. Pork Council, but she still lends a hand in the press office when she can. Thanks, Firecracker!

One Comment

  1. Soooo true – smiles are what it’s about (and attendance and revenue) – but we’ll pretend for a second that smiles and family fun are tops 🙂

    By the way, I have a suggestion for next year that I just thought about. One of the most exciting parts of Raleigh nightlife is the presence of businesses like ZSpotlight.com and LazyDay.com that head out to all the great events that take place and photograph everyone (for free) and hand out cards with their websites for people to check out and download the pictures (again, for free) on.

    Might be fun to work with those groups next year – have them photograph special events, exhibits, concerts, etc. (all while focusing on the crowd and getting pictures of attendees). Many go on to include those pictures on their facebook, MySpace, blogs, etc. and thus continues on the viral media campaign.

    TriangleBlvd.tv would also be great to have film some “behind the scenes” features for sharing online, too!

    Feel free to email me for anymore info or to chat about these groups, get contact info/referrals, etc. – ncsulilwolf@gmail.com


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