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September 23, 2023

Last-day rain dampens fair attendance

WATSONVILLE—This year’s Santa Cruz County Fair began with a bang, attracting thousands of people to the five-day bacchanalia of food, agriculture and art, and was on track to match last year’s blockbuster attendance.

That changed on Sunday, when a rare late-summer rainstorm doused the region, unleashing more than an inch that kept crowds low and lines short.

Fairgrounds Manager Dave Kegebein reckons that attendance on the last day was 20% of normal.

“It was a big hurt,” he says “There’s no way around it.”

Final attendance numbers won’t be available for a few weeks, Kegebein said. Still, he said that the Fairgrounds likely managed to break even this year.

“We didn’t lose any money, but certainly there wasn’t any chance of making any,” he said.


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