Attendance and sales at the 128th Santa Barbara County Fair jumped by six percent over last year according estimates released by Santa Maria Fairpark officials on Monday afternoon.
Though final results are not expected until later this week, Fairpark CEO Richard Persons said this year's event — which was bolstered by new attractions and performances — drew strong crowds throughout the five-day run.
“We had high hopes for solid attendance and we’re pleased with the turnout,” Persons said in a statement.
More than 150,000 people flock to the Santa Barbara County Fair each year, according to Fairpark spokesperson Shelly Cone. The event, which closed out its 2019 run on Sunday, offers a diverse lineup of shows and attractions, and a wide variety of culinary options that appeal to connoisseurs of deep-fried foods.
Grammy Award-winner Ashanti kicked off the Fair's Bud Light Concert Series, which also included performances by country singer Clay Walker, R&B group TLC, and country music duo Maddie & Tae. Each performance drew sizable crowds, according to Cone, and attendance was free with paid admission.
Crowds filled the Budweiser Minetti Arena on Saturday to watch nearly three dozen bull riders compete during a stop by Professional Bull Riding's pro division tour. Rider Dalton Kasel, of Howard College, scored a 93 for his ride on Spotted Demon — the top-ranked bull in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association and second-ranked bull in PBR — during Saturday's competition.
Tim Righetti, who helped organize Saturday's competition, called it "quite an accomplishment" given the fact that Spotted Demon had only been ridden six times in the last six years.
More than 1,800 steer, sheep, swine and goats were sold during Saturday's Junior Livestock Association auction, according to Cone. This year's auction brought in approximately $2.2 million in sales.