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Attendance for 2011 Merced County Fair down by 4.5 percent

Attendance at the 2011 Merced County Fair was down slightly from the previous, but this year's fair had been shortened from six days to five. The unaudited fair attendance was 61,680, down 4.5 percent compared to the 2010 total of 66,523. Paid attendance for the 2011 fair is 42,419, down from 2010, when paid attendance was 46,679 for the six-day fair.

"People really seemed to be having lots of fun," fair CEO Tom Musser said in a press release. "However, people are still struggling in this economy. These are challenging times. The fair had to make some tough financial decisions such as cutting one day from the fair. While we offered discounts and specials, even then some folks in our community just didn't have the money to go to the fair this year."

The fair judged 8,799 contest entries, including 4-H rocketry, FFA ag mechanics welding, beadwork, gardens, wine, ceramics, canned fruit, woodworking, cooking, photography and kids' art. At the Junior Livestock Auction, 547 pigs, lambs, beef and goats were sold for a total of $384,149, a jump from the 2010 auction sales total of $368,349.

The fair also provided tours for 722 children in preschool, summer programs and scouting groups.