Fair attendance jumps 21 percent over last year

By Kyle Vuille

Ranger-Review Staff Writer

For rural Montana, the Dawson County Fair is a big event that marks the high point of summer for a lot of folks in Glendive.

This year was no different for the locals, but for fair manager Tacee DeSaye, it was a feat and something to celebrate.

Friday night gate attendance was the highest it’s been in the last five years, with an attendance of 3,445. Last year’s Friday night gate attendance was about 600 less than this year.

Overall gate numbers for Thursday through Sunday saw a significant increase from last year. This year, during the four day span, the fair saw 10,153 people walk through its gates compared to last year’s 8,379.

DeSaye attributes this to all the community involvement and having a unique rock act for the night show.

DeSaye compared the Dawson County fair to the Sidney fair where country acts work better there, but in the past seven years, ticket numbers reflected that country acts don’t work as well in Glendive.

The lowest numbers seen in the past ten years were in 2011 and 2012 with the coinciding country acts of Brian Howe and Lund/32 Below.

The total amount of tickets sold to this year’s hard rock act Seether was 1,404. This was about 200 more than last year’s 1,202 for Hinder’s performance.

DeSaye did mention that last year was very hot and definitely factored in when it came to attendance numbers.

The highest attendance for the Friday night show in the past five years was in 2015 with Theory of A Deadman with 1,596 tickets sold.

Concert ticket sales were not the only event that saw an increase this year compared to last year.

The sled pull event saw an increase from 2016, having a paid attendance of 714 compared to last year’s 669. These attendance numbers only account for attendees over the age of 18 because children and teenagers have free admission to the event.

As far as the PRCA rodeo, numbers dwindled slightly from last year’s 1,419. This year the rodeo saw about 200 fewer people than the previous year. The highest attendance for the rodeo in the past five years was in 2014 when the rodeo saw 1,500 spectators.

DeSaye also said how important and grateful she was that so many local people and children were involved.

“So many local groups and vendors were there so there was more to do this year,” DeSaye said.

This was DeSaye’s second year as fair manager, her thoughts about the fair overall were positive.

“It went well,” DeSaye said. “We didn’t have any arrests or law enforcement issues.”

DeSaye also mentioned she is still learning and little hiccups like her computer crashing right before the fair started were unforeseen, but she was happy with the overall results of the fair turn out.

Another hiccup DeSaye  experienced was the online program the fair used called “Fair Entry.”

“It was our first year using the program so we ran into some bumps,” Desaye said. “And now we have time to work out the kinks before next year.”

DeSaye said the fair board and herself want to thank the community so much for all the volunteers, entries and vendors.

“We love having volunteers and we love hearing from people,” DeSaye said. 

Reach Kyle Vuille at
news@rangerreview.com.

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