Archbold, OH

Secrecy Casts Doubt On Fulton County Fair Attendance Figures

The Fulton County Fair is a great county fair… we think it’s the best around. Nothing changes that.

But when the Fair Board says fair attendance is 291,323 over seven days, is that an actual, real, takeit to-the-bank number? Or is it, like representatives of Defiance, Henry, and Williams county fairs are willing to say, an estimate?

And if it’s an estimate, how exactly does the Fair Board arrive at the attendance figure? How are pass-holders counted? If a 4-H member with a pass goes in and out of the fair six or seven times a day, is that person counted as seven visitors? Are the carnival workers counted in attendance figures? How is attendance figured on days when certain groups get in free?

Does the Fair Board use a mathematical formula, like Marilyn Hershberger, secretary of the Henry County Fair Board, said they do?

Or does the Fulton County Fair Board take the preceding year’s number and add a few hundred or thousand if the weather’s good, or take away a few hundred or thousand if it rains or is hot?

We don’t know, because the Fair Board won’t tell us. It’s a secret, apparently passed down from one fair board secretary to the next, although Dennis Wyse, Fulton County Fair Board president, says it uses the method approved by the Ohio Fair Managers Association.

But the OFMA doesn’t have an approved method of calculating attendance, said Darrel Cubbison, the OFMA president. Hmmm…

If the Fair Board wants to brag about attendance, shouldn’t it be able to prove the numbers are honest? Or just admit they’re only an estimate, an educated guess? What’s the big secret? Show us the formula, so we can determine how good an estimate it really is.

Many have snickered for decades over the Fulton County Fair attendance figures, saying the numbers are inflated, just to make the fair look good. By hiding its method for calculating attendance, the Fair Board is raising numerous questions about the validity of the numbers.

The attendance doesn’t need to be inflated. Whether 100,000, 200,000 or 300,000 go through the gates, the Fulton County Fair is one of the best.

And that, you can take to the bank.

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