Attendance at the Franklin County Fair was dramatically lower than last year, but still above average, according to fair officials.

Attendance at the Franklin County Fair was dramatically lower than last year, but still above average, according to fair officials.

Franklin County Agricultural Society Secretary Tim Shade said this year's gate attendance was 30,700, compared to last year's of 37,600.

"Last year was the best we ever had," Shade said. Shade said attendance this year was still above the average of 30,000.

Shade said last year's attendance was high in part because of the fair's modernization, and good weather also played a big role.

"Last year was almost perfect weather-wise," Shade said. "This year, it rained all day long on the first Saturday, one of our biggest days," he said.

Fair board member Dave Brobst said weather is "the king" when it comes to fairs.

"We live and die by it," he said. "Humidity and rain are the two things that affected us the most."

He said it kept the crowds away during the weekdays, but said people still came out during the cooler hours.

Shade said attendance also was hurt by the news media telling people to stay indoors during the intense heat.

"That always clobbers us," Shade said.

Brobst said there are "two sides to the sword" when it comes to the media.

"If (the media) discouraged people about going out in the weather, they still kept people informed about what was going on with the fair," Brobst said.

"Most people, if they have a desire to come out to the fair, they'll come out to the fair. Maybe instead of going in the afternoon, they'll go in the evening," he said.

Brobst said the only event affected by the weather was a hot air balloon launch that was pushed from Tuesday to Wednesday evening. He said about eight balloons were launched from the racetrack in an exhibition event.

"(It) was postponed because the prevailing winds were going the wrong direction," Brobst said.

calexis@thisweeknews.com