This year the Solano County Fair invited people to “Meet Me at the Fair!” from July 29 through Aug. 2 – and they responded. Total attendance for 2015 was 39,560, a 1.8% increase over the previous year and the first positive turn in the past few years for attendance numbers that have been slowly declining since 2012. In addition to increased attendance, 2015 Fair revenues were also up by a healthy 16% compared to 2014. The revenue increase was primarily due to increases in food and beverage concessions (up 12%), carnival rides and games (up 11.2%), and cash sponsorships (up 49%). Attendance and parking revenue also saw increases even though prices remained the same compared to the previous year.
Another of the significant successes at this year’s Fair was the amount of money raised for 4-H and FFA youth through the Junior Livestock Auction, moved to Saturday afternoon during the Fair instead of Sunday as in the past few years. Despite the number of lots being down from 151 last year to 148 this year, the auction raised 6% more revenue than the previous year ($115,292 in 2015 versus $108,695 in 2014). This was due to purchase prices increasing on average by 21%, reflecting the turnaround in the economy and a continued support for our county’s youth.
“We are really happy with the community support we received this year, both from our guests and our Fair partners, allowing us to be successful in so many areas,” stated Fairgrounds General Manager Stephen Pierce. “We worked diligently to improve our guests’ experience by adding new elements to the Fair and by moving traditional attractions to new locations on the grounds, all while keeping a focus on being a community event, by and for Solano County.”
Some of the changes at this year’s Solano County Fair included:
- the newly reimagined Galaxy Stage creating a more intimate setting for concert performances;
- a new location for the Solano Gardens providing a shady, landscaped picnic area;
- moving the Cultural Pavilion indoors to the County Building and adding a Cultural Pavilion Passport drawing of $50 daily with a grand prize of $500;
- consolidating all of the Fine Arts, Horticulture and Solano Living competitive exhibits under one roof in McCormack Hall;
- the return of the Sports Arena providing for the addition of a Demolition Derby on Saturday and a Jaripeo on Sunday;
- including the Vallejo Mad Hatter Parade for a special appearance meandering through the Fairgrounds on Friday; and
- partnering with several community organizations to provide resources and activities for guests including a Health Fair, Urban Gardening Exhibit, Giant Sandbox, Veterans Services and Children’s Story Time.
It is anticipated that the Solano County Fair will be scheduled next year for the first Wednesday through Sunday of August. The 2016 dates will be finalized in conjunction with fair dates throughout the state and approved by the Solano County Fair Board of Directors in the coming months. The focus will continue to be on being the Fair of, by and for Solano County, and on being the best entertainment value of the summer.