The Benton Franklin Fair & Rodeo had perfect weather and some record numbers at this year’s event, which ended Saturday after a five-day run at the fairgrounds in Kennewick.
Saturday was the best in fair history for food and carnival sales, in large part due to the addition of a Saturday afternoon concert featuring Disney-affiliated performer Zendaya, said Lori Lancaster, executive director.
The fair’s fundraiser for Second Harvest food bank brought in 11,064 pounds of food, and the 4-H and FFA stock sale set an all-time record, raising $864,513 for its young exhibitors, Lancaster said. The 2013 sale brought in about $717,000.
“The weather was just about perfect and the community turned out in grand numbers to see the exhibits and events at the fair,” she said. “We couldn’t ask for a better week.”
Attendance was 116,298, about the same as last year, Lancaster said. The number could change once the bus/admission figures are audited.
“We try to make the event better each and every year and we definitely succeeded in 2014,” she said. “We couldn’t do it without the help of hundreds of volunteers, exhibitors and sponsors who help make it all possible.”
The fair also partnered with the Benton Franklin Humane Society this year by donating $1 from each reserved ticket sold to the Zendaya concert.
CM Smoke Barbecue in Kennewick took top prize in the cook-off, winning $500 and half a beef, Lancaster said. And there were more than 11,000 entries registered for the fair this year, showcasing everything from vegetables to animals to crafts.
Prosser FFA students collected $1,912 at Thursday night’s rodeo to go to the Tough Enough To Wear Pink campaign. The money assists uninsured women in the community with breast cancer prevention programs and treatment.
“Crowds were strong all week with pleasant August days making ideal temperatures for fairgoers,” Lancaster added. “We will spend the next couple of weeks wrapping things up and then we’ll start planning the 2015 Benton Franklin Fair.”
Dori O’Neal: 582-1514; firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter: @dorioneal