After more than 50 years of holding a six-day fair, the Merced County Fair Board has decided to cut the 2011 fair to five days.
Diane Conway, marketing manager for the fair, said the decision was made to save money, stretch budgets and avoid raising admission prices.
"The board was talking about (changing the number of days) during the fair because people were asking for it," Conway said. "It's been brought up in the past, but this year the board took another look at it."
Conway said shortening the fair to a five-day run will be done on a trial basis, with the board looking at it every year.
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The 2010 fair saw a 17.3 percent rise in admissions from the 2009 fair. The fair had been moved in 2010 from its long-time July slot. Moving the fair earlier was decided because the California State Fair moved its run dates from the end of August to July.
"The June move was really well received," Conway said. "We haven't heard anything but praise for it."
The 2011 fair, scheduled for June 15-19, will mark the 120th anniversary of the county holding a fair. Except for a few years during the Depression and World War II, the fair has been held every year since 1891. The first "modern-day" type of county fair was held by Merced County in 1929, when the fair expanded from a one-day run to two.
The fair's chief executive, Tom Musser, said the board is committed to putting on a quality event.
"The state of the economy demands that we do business differently to present a first-class fair that everyone can enjoy," Musser said.
Reporter Carol Reiter can be reached at (209) 385-2486 or firstname.lastname@example.org.