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HOUSTON LIVESTOCK SHOW AND RODEO NAMED NORTH AMERICA'S TOP EVENT
Rain A Factor For Many Events
By Ron Weber, Editor
The Top 50 North American Fairs drew 40,316,926 guests in 2009, a small decrease of less than 1% from 2008.
Surging to the top spot on the list this year was the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo with a record-breaking attendance of 1,890,332, an increase of 5%. They gained the number one spot for the first time, succeeding the perennial #1, Texas State Fair, which was hampered by rain.
Texas had a carnivalwarehouse.com estimated attendance of 1,818,825.
"The 2009 Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo was a great success," said Skip Wagner, Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo president. Speaking about the success of the world,s largest stock show he said, "It,s a great value, and there's something for the whole family."
In a year when economic woes were a major concern for North America's largest events, it turned out that an old enemy, the weather, was the major challenge in 2009.
The Illinois State Fair, Mississippi State Fair, Miami-Dade County Fair and Exposition (FL) California State Fair, Texas State Fair and Arizona State Fair all posted double digit declines in 2009, largely due to weather.
Illinois, Texas and Mississippi were especially hampered by downpours and the Mississippi State Fair was even held over an additional day to try and gain some lost ground.
Leading the biggest positive movers was the Alameda County Fair in Pleasanton, CA which had a whopping increase of 21.5%, entering the list in the #41 position. The Eastern States Exposition in Springfield, MA, the Pacific National Exhibition in Vancouver, BC, the North Carolina State Fair, the Indiana State Fair and the York Fair (PA) all posted double digit increases.
Joining Alameda County on the list in 2009 after an absence were the Ionia (MI) Free Fair and the Pensacola Interstate Fair. Falling from the list in 2009 were the Dutchess County Fair (NY), the Kern County Fair (CA) and the Greeley Stampede in Colorado.
"Despite economic fears, North America,s Top 50 events had a solid year", said Matt Cook, president of carnivalwarehouse.com. "Were it not for some extremely bad weather spells during key events, we could have had a great year in 2009", he added.
For a complete listing of the Top 50 North American Fairs, visit