With warm weather and, for the most part, sunny skies shining down on them for ten days, officials of the Central Washing State Fair are “extremely happy” with the outcome of the annual fall event.  Final attendance at this year’s Fair was 304,769, a one percent increase over 2011.

Some issues with smoke and poor air quality may have kept some people indoors during the early part of the week, but large crowds of people came out to enjoy all the food, fun and entertainment on the final weekend to help push the total attendance over 300,000 for the third year in a row.  Last year’s attendance was 301,501.  In 2010, when the Fair experienced another run of almost perfect early fall weather some 312,149 people enjoyed the Fair.

“The air quality issues may have kept people home early in the week but overall we had great crowds,” said Fair president and general manager Greg Stewart.  “And we couldn’t have had any nicer temperatures. Our final weekend attendance was really good and we are extremely happy with how we did.”

Stewart said that 44,553 came out to the Fair on the final Saturday, and another 38,883 came through the gates on Sunday.

Among a variety of food, entertainment and exhibits, people seemed to be taken by some of the new attractions at this year’s Fair.

“People really enjoyed visiting the Toytopia exhibit,” said Stewart.  “And they loved seeing all the exotic animals at Walk on the Wild Side and Barnville, our big petting zoo.”

The other big draw again this year was the entertainment at the Budweiser Stage and the Coca-Cola Grandstand.

On opening weekend of the Fair good crowds showed up to see 38 Special and Rick Springfield perform all of their hits.

The Fair again beefed up mid-week entertainment and featured rock band Theory of a Deadman and country singers Charlie Daniels and Craig Morgan.  On the final weekend the fair presented 60’s pop band Paul Revere and the Raiders and rock band WAR.  On the final Sunday, Hispanic singer Maribel Guardia played to a standing room only crowd.

Large crowds also took in two days of sprint car races on the opening weekend, along with the Showdown rodeo event and the giant Demolition Derby on the final weekend.

Of course there was also plenty to eat at this year’s Fair.  Always one of the main attractions of the fair, the food again drew big crowds to the 60-some food booths serving everything from corn dogs and barbecued sandwiches to deep fried cheese curds and ice cream.

And thrill seekers were entertained all ten days by the dozens of midway rides and games presented by Butler Amusements.

Stewart said the dates for next year’s version of the annual fair will be September 20 through September 29, 2013.  He said fair management and staff are already making plans for next year’s event.