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2019 Arkansas State Fair Nearly Sets Attendance Record

KATV, Channel 7

Final attendance numbers are in and this year's Arkansas State Fair had the second-highest attendance in its 80-year history.

Doug White, in his first year as president and general manager of Arkansas State Fairgrounds, said the lack of rain was one reason for the success of this year's event.

"Having nine days of sunshine, having our only rain-day be on a Tuesday, which is typically a slow day anyway, we couldn't have scripted it any better. My first fair, obviously I’m elated," White said.

According to White, the official attendance of the 2019 state fair was 472,308. That's only about 800 attendees short of the all-time record set in 2015. Last year's state fair, on the other hand, was plagued by six days of rain and drew just over 300,000 people. In addition to good weather, White says a new parking lot helped improve traffic flow.

"The addition of the safe and secure south lot for our patrons where we could park around 1,200 cars if we needed to, which really helped the experience for our patrons. Not having to park offsite, knowing that the Little Rock PD, and our sheriff's department, and our state police were here helping protect all of them, it was just a great, great 10 days."

White said the reports from the vendors have been positive too. The fair is in the third year of a five-year contract with North American Midway Entertainment, which provides the carnival rides for the fair.

"They just did a fantastic job," White said.