State Fair officials say they’re seeing fewer advance ticket sales but a slight increase in the number of livestock entries. Fair director, Marion Lucas, said attendance at local and county fairs is down about 15 percent from last year because higher gas prices and food costs are squeezing entertainment budgets.
"I think within generalities of the entertainment business and sector that most of them are down," he said. "I know Silver Dollar City Branson area’s down, they tell me Worlds of Fun is down so I guess we should expect similar situation."
The fair is trying to compensate for tight budgets by offering discount days, Lucas said.
A number of people have told Lucas that they didn’t show their livestock at smaller fairs in order to save up to attend the state fair .
"We are up in some numbers, some numbers we are even and some numbers we are down," he said. "So as I look at our total numbers today and I have some facts to give you here I think they’re on average pretty much the same."
This year, Lucas said he expects nearly all those who register to show will attend, unlike past years when several contestants didn’t compete.