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144th Western Fair wraps up after ‘tremendous’ run: fair organizers

A portion of the midway of the 144th Western Fair on its opening night on Sept.  6, 2019. .
A portion of the midway of the 144th Western Fair on its opening night on Sept. 6, 2019. . Jacquelyn LeBel/980 CFPL

The 144th Western Fair has come and gone, and organizers say they’re looking to build on some positives from this year’s installment.

Although they aren’t publicly releasing specific attendance numbers for the 10-day fair, communications and marketing director Greg Blanchard said there were some big attendance days.

READ MORE: Western Fair promises nights of nostalgia for Londoners

“Day to day, you can kind of afterward get a comparison versus year over year. A couple of the days in particular, there were numbers we haven’t seen here for quite a few years and you can feel it when you’re on the ground,” he explained.

“It’s weather dependent, there’s no question that has a big impact on how your fair does financially. But there are other metrics we use to measure a successful fair. We felt like we hit the mark fairly well this year in a lot of different areas but yeah, Mother Nature certainly did her part.”

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Nostalgia was a focus for this year, which saw the return of popular attractions like the bingo tent, some classic rides and some old deep-fried favourites from the past.

Blanchard says over the last couple of years, organizers heard plenty of feedback about bringing back the grandstand concerts, which made their return this year.

“The grandstand, it’s an iconic symbol of the Western Fair. When you’re there on a nice night with the right band and a good crowd and good weather, you just can’t replicate that experience anywhere else.

“The crowds that came out this year were tremendously enthusiastic and I think it really felt right to me when you were there in the environment.”

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The Trews, Marianas Trench, Trooper and Platinum Blonde highlighted this year’s acts, and Blanchard says the plan is to hold the concerts at the grandstand going forward.

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Planning is already underway for next year.

“One of the things we’ll do is get together as a team and talk about this year’s fair, analyze it, go through a lot of the customer feedback we get, and that certainly goes into the planning for next year. This year we made a lot of changes based on that feedback and we think they were positive.”

The 144th Western Fair ran from Sept. 6 to 15.