RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Attendance for the first three days at the North Carolina State Fair is down compared to recent years, with about 70,000 fewer people attending the first three days compared to 2019.

“We really didn’t know what to expect this year, we know that this is not the right year for some people, but we’re excited to be open and feel that those that come are having a great time,” said Kent Yelverton, manager of the North Carolina State Fair.

This year’s opening day attendance of 27,209 was the lowest opening-day attendance since 1994. Saturday’s attendance at 83,737 is the lowest for that day since 1997 when it rained for part of the day.

Fair business is still popping at PT’s Prairie Gold Kettle Corn. The owner Paul Gagne said he doesn’t think his business was impacted by attendance numbers.

“We did have something in mind, and we met our goals,” Gagne said.

Lobster Dogs of Raleigh has been in business for about two years, Megan Roaden said the fair’s been a big boost.

“I say we may have expected more because of how busy it is in past years, but we’re still really happy with the way it’s turned out for us,” Roaden said.



She estimates they did about 50 percent more business on Sunday over Saturday and 100 percent more business than the first day of the fair.

“It started off a little slow but today was definitely a peak day for us,” Roaden said.

Sunday’s attendance numbers are not out yet, but fairgoers tell CBS 17 the crowd size did not feel different from past years. The second Saturday is typically the fair’s busiest day.