Despite consistently sunny weather, attendance at the N.C. State Fair is down a bit this year compared with last year.
Through Thursday, 617,688 people had passed through the gates at the fair, compared with 624,956 last year, a decline of about 1 percent.
The numbers are down despite a strong start this year. In each of the first three days of the fair, attendance was higher than last year. But it has lagged each day since then.
Thursday’s Food Lion Hunger Relief Day, historically the third busiest of the 11-day fair, drew 93,808 people, or 8,368 fewer than it did last year.
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The final Saturday is almost always the busiest day at the fair, averaging more than 124,000 since 1990. Forecasters say skies will remain sunny through the weekend, with high temperatures in the mid-70s.
Altogether, 927,563 people attended the fair last year. The record turnout came in 2010, when attendance neared 1.1 million.