RALEIGH — Despite sunny skies in the final weekend, attendance at the N.C. State Fair was lower than average for recent years.
Nearly 928,000 people visited the N.C. State Fair over its 11-day run, according to fair officials. Thats the fourth highest attendance on record but less than the average of 941,873 during the last five years. Sundays attendance was 98,221, just below last years mark and about 6,000 less than the five-year average.
State officials conceded that Thursday nights accident on the midway that injured five riders may have caused some people not to attend over the weekend. The operator of the ride, Timothy Tutterrow of Quitman, Ga., has been accused of tampering with the rides safety equipment and was charged with three counts of assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious bodily injury.
Weather tends to have the biggest impact on attendance, fair spokesman Brian Long said. The day with the lowest attendance compared to normal was the first Saturday, when a threat of showers kept people away, Long said.
I do think that the ride accident Thursday night did have some impact on our weekend attendance, particularly Friday, he said. But I also think that Fridays attendance was affected by the fact that it got pretty cold Friday night. For a Friday night, it was a pretty light crowd."
The record attendance at the fair was 1,091,887, in 2010. Last years attendance was 965,297, the third highest on record.
As rides at the fair were being disassembled, a worker was hurt at the State Fairgrounds early Monday while helping to with a midway ride, state officials said.
The man, 35, was helping take apart one of two Vortex rides, but not the one involved in Thursdays accident.
State Fair officials said the man was taken to WakeMed in Raleigh with a leg injury. Officials did not release the mans name or provide any other details.
The accident happened about 3:30 a.m.