Air concerns blow away: Fair attendance ahead of last year

Air concerns blow away: Fair attendance ahead of last year
YAKIMA, Wash. -- Air quality has been a big concern as we head into the final weekend of the Central Washington State Fair but it seems the issue wasn't enough to deter people from making the trip.

Despite Yakima remaining under an air quality alert, attendance numbers released Friday reveal more people have come out to the fair this year, compared to last year.

Crowds of people trickled into the Central Washington Fairgrounds all week.

It's a good sight for organizers who worried about the fair's success when air quality concerns hung overhead.

"I was definitely concerned a little bit because my son does have asthma, but he seems to be doing ok, so far," said fair visitor Kristin Sak.

And so is attendance for the fair; the number of visitors stopping by the fair is up by nearly 15,000 overall.

Only two out of five days brought in a lower number of visitors than the year before.

"People are just going about their lives and doing what they're doing," said Central Washington State Fair Spokesperson Rob Phillips.

Phillips said rough weather had a bigger impact on attendance last year, and despite our status, the air here in Yakima isn't as bad as it is closer to the fires.

"Maybe they're not going to let a little bit of smoke bother them," Phillips said.

More people walking the fairgrounds has meant good business for vendors and has made setting up shop worthwhile.

"A little bit better on some days," said vendor Mark Vandyke. "We've seen increases, our sales have gone up."

Phillips said a little more than 300,000 people visited the fair last year.

Heading into closing weekend he expects to meet, if not surpass that number, and prepare to close the 2012 fair as a success.

Poor air quality forced the rescheduling of Davis and Ike's Friday night football game to Saturday.