DES MOINES, Iowa -- This time on Sunday, we were still eating things on a stick and enjoying the best state fair in the country. Cut to Monday and crews are already working to tear it down, but this time they’ll have some extra work to do.
“1,130,000 plus people, which eclipses the record by just a little bit more than 12,000 people,” said Gary Slater, Director of the Iowa State Fair.
Slater says the numbers are in and it's official: the 2017 edition of the fair was the biggest ever, attendance wise. This year, 1,130,071 made it to the event, breaking the record set in 2015.
Slater said there were a few things they did to improve attendance from last year, like better marketing and concerts, but the biggest factor in the jump was something they had no control over.
“But it all comes down to the fact that everybody was comfortable during this fair. The weather was in the mid 80s, the humidity was low through most of week,” said Slater.
It's obvious that the gates were busy, but did those big attendance numbers translate to big bucks for vendors?
“Literally lined up to the street on Saturday. There were two lines out both sides of the building,” said Stan Kranovich, owner of Steer ‘n’ Stein, one of the busiest places at the fair.
That sounds like a resounding yes. Kranovich said he sold tens of thousands Pork Almighty dishes, countless turkey legs, and poured what seemed like an endless stream of beer, so it was a good year. He is still crunching the numbers, but thinks this will go down as an all-time record.
“Business was great. I mean, we are still adding up the numbers, but overall attendance was fantastic. So when attendance was good, everyone does good.”