Gallatin County Fair sees sharp spike in attendance


BOZEMAN, Mont. - Just two days into the Gallatin County Fair, manager Sue Shockley said they saw a huge spike in attendance compared to last year.

"I am so excited!" she exclaimed. She said she had a feeling the numbers would spike, but added that she "didn't know that we would we'd be up 64 percent. That's huge."

One big factor in more fairgoers flooding the gates, she said, comes down to what's happening in the sky.

"If we have some rain or if it's one hundred and plus degrees, people don't come out," she said.

Last year, the fair saw a lot of storms. Shockley said a few years ago, the issue was extreme heat.

But this year, "It's gorgeous, it's perfect fair weather." She said. "Little breeze, and the sun is shining."

It's also the hard work behind the scenes to bring in new attractions that will draw people to the fair.

Plus, "The marketing is a huge factor," she said.

Attending the fair is a yearly tradition for some. But fairgoers said they've noticed what's new this time around- like the live shark experience.

"The sharks. The sharks look awesome," said Nikolas Stubbs.

And that's part of what keeps people coming.

"Isabella loves the new helicopter ride," said Desiree McCann, who came to the fair with her husband Cooper and two kids.

"It's all the fun," said Jacklyn Gonzales. "Seeing all the animals, and what to they got new this year- what kind of shows and all that."

Every year, Shockley said they aren't sure just how successful the fair will be until the doors open.

But this year, they can breathe a sigh of relief as they look forward to what's expected to be an even busier weekend.

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