- Associated Press - Wednesday, September 3, 2014

FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) - It was another down year for attendance at the Tanana Valley State Fair in Fairbanks.

The nine-day festival drew 92,500 visitors, down about 5,500 from last year, when the fair went 10 days, the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reported (http://is.gd/zHzB5b ). About 111,000 people attended in 2012, which is also ran for 10 days.

New fair general manager Joyce Whitehorn said she wasn’t discouraged by the lower attendance figures, saying this year’s final tally will fall near average.

“I think it compared right up there with all of them,” Whitehorn said. “I think we had a great fair.”

She will present the numbers to the board of directors at the Sept. 11 meeting.

One board member, Ralph Seekins, said the fair’s success on any given day seem to be tied to the weather. “If the weather was good, it was a good day. If the weather wasn’t good, it wasn’t a good day,” Seekins said.

This year’s version of the fair underwent several changes. Golden Wheel, which has provided rides to the fair for years, dropped out in a dispute over contract terms and actually held its own carnival, which overlapped the fair by a few days. That prompted Tanana Valley Fair board president Dave Hoeffel to call the move unethical.

“I don’t think the carnival affected the fair at all,” Whitehorn said. “It didn’t bother us at all.”

A notice was sent to fair vendors in July, which warned them not to appear at the competing carnival or risk losing their listing with the fair. Whitehorn later backtracked, saying the notice was only meant to let vendors know that any that started partway through the fair would lose their grandfather status.

The fair also changed alcohol vendors for this year’s event after another contract dispute with the former supplier. Whitehorn was hired last fall after the board decided to replace the former general manager, Jill Falldin.

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Information from: Fairbanks (Alaska) Daily News-Miner, http://www.newsminer.com