PHOENIX – More than 1.5 million people attended the Arizona State Fair this year, which sets a new attendance record for the 116-year-old event, according to fair officials.
The previous attendance record of 1.26 million people was set in 2019, the last fair to take place before the COVID-19 pandemic (the fair reported that the previous record was 1.3 million in a statement. press release, but a spokesperson for the fair later confirmed that they had rounded the 2019 number up). The 2020 State Fair has been canceled due to the pandemic; instead, the fair hosted a series of drive-through food events featuring some of the fair’s dealers.
This year’s fair featured most of the rides, games and fried foods that people have come to expect. The biggest difference was the lack of major concerts at the Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum due to apparent budget shortfalls attributed to cancellations of events during the pandemic, including the 2020 fair.
We sincerely thank everyone who took the time to visit us this year! Thanks to YOU we have had an unforgettable month with millions of memories that will live on forever. We are very happy to see you all again next year! pic.twitter.com/mIWOkCbVOT
– Arizona State Fair (@azstatefair) October 31, 2021
Arizona State Fair spokesperson Jen Yee previously told ABC15 that the Arizona Exposition and State Fair is a self-funded state agency and uses the state fair’s revenue from the previous year, as well. that the rental of the exhibition center and its facilities, to finance the fair of the following year. Due to the pandemic, many events were canceled, which meant there was not enough money to book artists, she said.
A big question that still remains to be answered is where will the 2022 Arizona State Fair be held?
Ahead of the 2021 State Fair, the Arizona State Fair Board unexpectedly voted in March to move the State Fair to Wild Horse Pass, which is part of the Gila River Indian community. At the time, executive Wanell Costello and the governor’s office described it as a one-time “temporary” decision, as the fairground was being used as a COVID-19 testing and vaccination site. Wild Horse Pass would apparently allow more social distancing amid the pandemic, officials said.
Exciting news for Arizonans and visitors:
The Arizona State Fair is back this year! It will be temporarily moved to a large, secure site on the Wild Horse Pass Development Authority thanks to a gracious offer from the Gila River Indian community. The dates are being finalized. 1 /
– Doug Ducey (@dougducey) March 25, 2021
However, in August, two months before the October Fair, it was announced that the fair would remain at the fairgrounds as officials were unable to secure the infrastructure necessary to successfully hold the event in Wild. Horse Pass, near Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park, at I-10 and Wild Horse Pass Blvd.
In a statement in August, Board Chairman Jonathan Lines said he was “committed to working with the Gila River Indian community to see if we can move the fair to the Gila River Indian Reservation in Canada. 2022 in a mutually beneficial way for both parties. “This was the first public mention that moving the 2022 show was being considered.
Details on this potential move – and whether it is again a temporary or permanent move – are not known. ABC15 has contacted the Arizona State Fair and the governor’s office for comment and to request additional information.
Between 2012 and 2018, the fair attracted an average of 1.1 million people, according to data released by the fair. In 2010 and 2011, just over a million people attended the fair. And in 2009, a total of 961,000 people attended the fair.