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People visit the concession stands at the state fairgrounds on the first day of the South Dakota State Fair in August. (Matt Gade / Republic)

State Fair attendance increases for 2018

HURON — Attendance was up at the 2018 South Dakota State Fair in Huron, state officials said on Tuesday.

Attendance was recorded at 217,231, up 2.5 percent over 2017. Gate revenue was up by 3.6 percent. The fair was held Aug. 30-Sept. 3 with the theme "Experience the Magic."

"This was an exciting year for us. We invited people to come experience the fair's magic and that they did! Our strong entertainment line-up, headlined by Toby Keith, set the mood for the fair and the rest just fell into place," said Fair Manager Peggy Besch. "Of course, the weather was on our side too! It was fun to see the crowds, especially on the weekend."

Other increases include a 13 percent increase in grandstand ticket sales, while grandstand ticket revenue was up 56 percent. Carnival revenue was up 7 percent and gross sales from vendors were up 2.8 percent. The fair hosted 1,984 campers, up 1.5 percent over last year.

Participation in youth activities remained strong as 4-H livestock exhibits were up 3 percent, while 4-H Youth in Action increased by 24 percent. A 14 percent increase in FFA exhibitors led to a 32 percent increase in FFA entries.

The 2019 South Dakota State Fair will be Thursday, Aug. 29, through Monday, Sept. 2, with preview day on Wednesday, Aug. 28.