State Fair Brings In More Than 1.1 Million Visitors

State Fair Brings In More Than 1.1 Million Visitors
Built for and by the community of Arizona, the 2016 Arizona State Fair continued an annual tradition that has been around since 1884, showcasing the best of our state. It offered Arizonans the opportunity to share a culture, camaraderie, and precious family time. The basking glow of our Arizona sun helped to spotlight the assortment of entertainment, community engagement, and amusement options. Posting a final attendance of 1,144,627, the Arizona State Fair delivered an impressive line-up of competitive and animal exhibits, rides, games, concerts, attractions, Grandstand events, and delectable foods.
A testament to traditions past, present, and future, this year featured over 7,000 competitive entries from 1,800 exhibitors ranging in age from 3 to 82 years. These talented participants represented 13 Arizona counties and provided thousands of 4-H, Fine Arts, Home Arts, Culinary, Horticulture and Floriculture, Photography, Minerals and Jewelry, S.T.E.M., Ag Mechanics, and Student exhibits. The highest number of exhibits was 2,996 in the Student Department, which encompasses the categories of art, photography and public speaking in the preschool through 12th grade divisions.  Home Arts was second highest with 1,265 sewing, crochet, model building, and wood exhibits, including 149 quilts and 200 rockets brought in for display. The Fine Arts department experienced a renaissance of sorts with over 600 treasured exhibits.Animals were in abundance as well with 60 animals in the Great American Petting Zoo, including crowd favorite, GusGus, 59 baby animals in Kerr’s Farm Tours, and a wide variety of cuddlies in Livestock and Small Stock exhibits. The barns welcomed two new babies during its run – a cavy and a goat. 340 Blue Ribbons were awarded to Small stock animals such as rabbits and cavy, poultry, and pigeons while 628 Blue Ribbons were given to Large stock such as cows, pigs, sheep and goats. The top award, Best of Show, went to 95 small stock animals and 198 Large stock animals. Youth Week featured 254 kids from all corners of the state demonstrating their best showmanship skills to spotlight 958 farm animals they had raised, nurtured, and trained. After a week of presentations and judging, 31 of the top ranked champion animals generated nearly $70,000 at the 26th Annual Junior Livestock Sale of Champions.  31 kids ages 9 to 18 from seven different counties participated in the auction, selling 5 pigs, 5 lambs, 3 market steers, 3 meat goats, 2 market turkeys, and 13 Futurity Heifers. Selling prices ranged from $450 for a Champion Turkey by Austin McCauley of Paradise Valley to $4,000 for a Reserve Champion Market Steer by Canyon Ferris of Tucson. The up- and downside to the plethora of animals translated to 1,012 bales of hay and 42,628 pounds of animal waste.10,762 Arizona students eagerly participated in the annual Read & Ride Program presented by SRP that promotes literacy. Children ages 5-14 who read three books and submitted a completed and Official Read & Ride Report Form earning 32,286 ride passes during the 2016 Fair. In addition, 9,230 children extended their classrooms to the Fair through School Field Trips where students experienced fun and comprehensive educational exhibits provide cross-curricular opportunities in Science, Math, Music, Language Arts, Fine Arts, Agriculture, CTE, and STEM. Kiwanis Kids’ Day at the Fair hosted 2,858 students with special needs along with 2,249 chaperones and volunteers.The community is at the heart of the Arizona State Fair and this was not only evident in the exhibits, but also in the response to the We Care Wednesday food drive, Service Saturday volunteer event, and Armed Forces Day. Fairgoers generously donated 145,226 non-perishable food items to St. Mary’s Food Bank during three We Care Wednesdays presented by Sanderson Ford and Operation Santa Claus. In addition, 2,824 Unity Pledges were signed in partnership with One Community Arizona, Armed Forces Day provided 5,000 admission tickets for active and retired military and their families, and the Maricopa County Fun Day provided 17,405 admission tickets to non-profit organizations.

Variety and diversity were abundant in the nearly 300 live performances on the Fair’s community stages, featuring dance troupes, choirs, martial arts, and local bands.  Fairgoers rocked, crooned, laughed, screamed, and clapped during the 14 shows in the Veteran’s Memorial Coliseum Concert Series. While metal icons Slayer saw the largest audience overall, Iggy Azalea, Gavin DeGraw and Andy Grammer, Jack & Jack, Scotty McCreery, and Big & Rich with Cowboy Troy also performed to big crowds. This year’s line-up also included Luis Coronel, Garbage, The Flaming Lips and EDM artists Cash Cash.
The Fry’s Food Stores Culinary Stage hosted 59 culinary demonstrations, multiple culinary competitions, floral demonstrations, and even the first Toastmasters Elementary Speech Contest.

Speaking of food, 94 food stands provided deep fried, sugar frosted (or not) delicacies on a stick. Fairgoers indulged in a diverse assortment of Fair foods, including over 45 new food items.  From sweet to salty, deep fried to dipped, on-a-plate, on-a-stick or in a cup, the newest items proved to be pleasing to the palate. The options included Deep Fried Chocolate Covered Cinnamon Roll, Deep Fried Chocolate Covered Marshmallows, Deep Fried Butterfinger, Dragon Wings, Mowie Wowie Pineapple Bowls, Bacon Nutella Pickle, and the Flaming Cheetos Corn on the Cob. An estimated 50,000 corn dogs and 5,000 Twinkies were devoured this year with more than 25,000 lbs. of sugar used to make cotton candy and 2,000 lbs. of pepperoni plus 20,000 lbs. of mozzarella cheese used to prepare pizzas for hungry fairgoers.

The 18 day Arizona State Fair also hosted 350 commercial vendors, and provided over 1,950 jobs.

“We are so thankful for the great support given by Arizonans for the Arizona State Fair,” said Wanell Costello, Executive Director.  “It’s a tremendous honor to be one of the state’s great traditions and longest running events.”

1826 West McDowell Road . Phoenix, AZ 85007 . phone 602-252-6771 fax 602-495-1302 .


For more information about attractions, concerts, and discounts, visit
1826 W. McDowell Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85007 . (602) 252-6771 .

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