Western Fair blessed with fair weather but attendance figures under wraps

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The Western Fair, London’s venerable fall classic, was blessed with near-perfect weather this year and no pesky competition from a big Air Show or country music festival.

The fair also reverted to its traditional 10 day schedule after eliminating Monday and Tuesday openings last year.

Fair officials say they’re as happy as kid with cotton candy.

“We’re pleased to see the community come out in the beautiful weather…It’s pretty busy, shoulder-to-shoulder in the midway last night. Overall we’re very pleased.” said Western Fair communications manager Skye Nicholson-Smith.

But there are no numbers to verify her sunny outlook.

Once again fair officials will not be releasing attendance figures this year, a policy that started last year.

Western Fair hit a peak of 446,000 visitors back in 1976.

But attendance dropped steadily over the years to a low of 155,514 in the rain-soaked 2014 event but recovered to 170,000 in 2015.

Food vendors along the midway agreed that warm, sunny weather this year was boosting business.

“It’s been fairly steady really. Nice weather. Better than last year.” said one women staffing a chip wagon

But a co-worker chimed in that the previous Saturday (marked by cool weather) has been “pretty dead.”

The first few days of the 2016 fair coincided with the end of London’s Country Music Week capped by the Canadian Country Music Awards

The second weekend of last year’s competed with Airshow London, which was revived after 12 years and drew 20,000 people.

But there was competition this year from the Beatles Festival on the first weekend and the EDM Block Party last weekend.

But Nicholson-Smith said the fair’s family focus mean those two music event are not direct competitors

“We would share some customers but the demographics are a bit different.”

She said the fair got a boost from reinstating Monday and Tuesday.

“We used the two days last year to grow our school tours program. Those have continued but we have been able to open the public at 3 p.m.”

Earlier opening hours on weekends -10 a.m. instead of 11 a.m.- have been maintained.



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