Chilkat Valley News - Serving Haines and Klukwan, Alaska since 1966

Attendance, beer sales up at fair


The 48th annual Southeast Alaska State Fair saw an increase in attendance this year and ran pretty smoothly, according to executive director Jessica Edwards.

An increase in Haines-Skagway fast ferry trips that were fully booked brought crowds to town and contributed to an increase in gate ticket sales, as compared to last year. Ride ticket sales remained high despite breakdowns with two rides.

The carousel broke down Saturday afternoon and was out of commission for the remainder of the fair weekend as a result of a lost bearing. The Ferris wheel also overheated Friday but was fixed Saturday with a temporary radiator to cool down the machine.

Efforts by Haines Friends of Recycling volunteers reduced the amount of waste accumulated at the fair by more than half, compared to last year. Bigfoot Auto Service has waived the fair’s waste disposal costs in the past, but Edwards didn’t know if such arrangements would be available next year after Bigfoot’s closure. The fair board encouraged food vendors to purchase compostable materials this year and fairgoers did well to separate trash from compostable and recyclable items.

Edwards said people were satisfied overall with entertainment.

The full music line-up at the Klondike, the Haines Hustle run and workshops on the park stage all saw a good turnout and were well-liked, she said. Edwards believes beer garden sales and parade attendance were up from last year. The new beach wrestling tournament was a success that the fair board would like to continue next year, as well as see more women participate.

“A lot of people tell us this is their favorite fair ever,” Edwards said.

Although there were many successes, she said there’s room for improvement in the logging show.

After new volunteers took over the show in the absence of long-term helpers, the show ran long and overlapped the time of the fishermen’s rodeo. Also, additional food vendors by the park stage had a slow start to sales before word spread among fair-goers that those options were available.

After two children were separated from their families at the fair this year but quickly reunited, Edwards would like to make next year’s fair-goers more aware of the safety procedures for lost children. She also hopes that a zipline attraction can be installed for next year’s fair, but the board is still on the hunt for affordable and reputable insurance coverage.

Final figures for attendance and ticket sales will be released at the annual meeting Saturday, Aug. 27.


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