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Wisconsin State Fair vendors are not seeing the attendance they'd hoped for

"We believed 2021 was going to be the boost that would carry us forward."
Posted at 6:39 PM, Aug 13, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-13 19:39:47-04

WEST ALLIS — Friday's weather is perfect for folks headed to the State Fair, but that wasn't the case earlier this week, and vendors are starting to see the impact.

With extremely hot days in the 90s to devastating rain and wind, fair vendors didn't quite get what they expected.

Heavenly Roasted Nuts
Heavenly Roasted Nuts

Heavenly Roasted Nuts owner Wendy Matel said the weather was tough to deal with and it impacted sales.

"It's been okay, I mean we are a little down, but there's a lot going on," Matel said.

Emma's Cookie Kitchen
Emma's Cookie Kitchen

Emma's Cookie Kitchen co-owner Joe Haag said people are at the fair, but it's not anywhere near 2019.

"We believed that 2021 was going to be the boost that would carry us forward," Haag said.

As of Friday, Haag believes sales are down nearly 15%.

For six consecutive years, the Wisconsin State Fair saw more than a million people come to the fair, but we don't know yet how this year will compare.

For Wisconsin State Fair Park CEO Kathleen O'Leary, she's grateful to see people at the fairgrounds once again, and it's not all about beating records.

"It's not about breaking attendance records at all," Oleary said. "It's about having people come out and enjoy what they can."

But she does understand weather may impact turnout.

"With the weather like we've had, it definitely has challenged all of us," she said.

As the State Fair wraps up this weekend, vendors are hoping for sunshine and major sales.

"We are relying on Mother Nature to help us out," Matel said.

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