POMONA, Calif. (CNS) — More than 717,000 people attended the Los Angeles County Fair during its 16-day run, according to a preliminary estimate released Tuesday.
The attendance figure of 717,815 is an improvement from 2022, when roughly 635,400 people attended the event following a two-year absence due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Last year also marked the first time the fair was held in May rather than September in an effort to capitalize on milder weather.
"Our attendance shows that people are understanding the Fair has permanently moved to May, and they are loving it," Walter Marquez, president and CEO of Fairplex, said in a statement. "Guests stayed longer, just like last year. I think part of that is due to the fun they are experiencing and, of course, the favorable weather."
While attendance is up, the fair — which wrapped up Monday — is still trying to recapture its traditional numbers, which regularly topped 1 million prior to the pandemic.
The fair instituted "calendar pricing" this year, offering lower prices earlier in the event's run. Tickets for fairgoers ages 13-59 purchased in advance online were $15 Saturday and Sunday and the three Thursdays, May 11, 18 and 25; $18 May 12-14; $21 May 19-21 and $25 May 26-29.
Fair officials said the result was more evenly distributed attendance throughout the event's run.
The fair was themed "Spring Into Fair: Where Fun Blooms," celebrating flower power.
Known for its array of food offerings, fair officials said noted vendor Chick Charlie served up 10,000 pounds of chicken during the event, along with 12,000 Flamin' Hot Cheetos potstickers, 3,000 fried s'mores on a stick, 8,000 ears of corn and 4,000 chicken kabobs.
Midway vendors sold 17,000 pounds of turkey legs, 8,000 pounds of potatoes and 4,000 pounds of popcorn.
The fair evolved from a commercial-industrial show first held along the Southern Pacific railroad siding in downtown Pomona in 1921. It proved so successful that the businessmen who produced it held the first Los Angeles County Fair in October 1922.
The fair has been held annually at Fairplex since 1922, except from 1942-47, when the facility was being used by the U.S. Army, including as a prisoner of war camp for German and Italian soldiers and a relocation camp for Japanese Americans, and in 2020 and 2021 because of the coronavirus pandemic.