Benton Franklin Fair & Rodeo attendance close to last year's 120,000

By Ty Beaver, Tri-City HeraldAugust 25, 2013 

benton franklin fair & rodeo kennewick

Porsche Vigil, 3, of Sunnyside, rides on the shoulders of family friend Jimmy Sanders of Prosser, as she and her mother Meriya, front left, enjoyed the Benton Franklin Fair & Rodeo on Saturday.

KAI-HUEI YAU — Tri-City Herald Buy Photo

Attendance for the concluded Benton Franklin Fair & Rodeo is expected to be close to last year's 120,000 visitors.

Numbers from sales of joint bus fares and fair tickets aren't yet available, said fair manager Lori Lancaster, delaying a final attendance tally.

But she said observations from throughout the five-day event and the blessing of good entertainment acts and weather led to a successful fair.

"It looks like we're close to last year's attendance without (transit figures)," Lancaster said.

Tickets to Horse Heaven Round-Up events Friday and Saturday were sold out, packing the grandstand with thousands of spectators. Several of the fair's concert performances were also sold out, with groups such as rock band Foreigner stepping up to the microphone on the fair's Main Stage.

"That concert was fantastic," Lancaster said of Foreigner's performance.

Weather during the week was warm but not too hot, Lancaster said, and the only rain was some drizzle during Saturday's rodeo. That meant there were few heat-related health incidents, and people weren't discouraged about spending the day outside.

Cool refreshments helped.

"Lemonade and ice cream did well, because we were close to hot," Lancaster said.

The annual 4-H and FFA Market Stock Sale saw the sale of 528 animals for a total of $717,000 on Friday. Lancaster said the event demonstrated the importance the fair plays for the region's youth and the generosity of the businesses and individuals who paid handsomely to support them.

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