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State Fair attendance up half a percent over last year

statefairattendALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Although it was the shortest fair in more than a decade, attendance at the 2015 New Mexico State Fair increased a half-percent over the previous year’s fair, officials announced Tuesday.

Total attendance for the 11-day fair, which ran Sept. 10-20, was 460,468. Attendance at the 2014 fair, which ran for 12 days, was 458,379, said State Fair spokeswoman Erin Thompson.

Paid attendance was 414,932 – a 1.4 percent decline from the 2014 fair. Revenues from admission ticket sales were not available Tuesday, Thompson said.

Unpaid attendance – which includes passes for vendors, sponsors and special guests and free-entry days for police, firefighters, teachers, veterans and active-duty military – jumped from 37,755 in 2014 to 45,536 this year.

“By all standards, the 2015 New Mexico State Fair was hugely successful,” State Fair general manager Dan Mourning said in a news release. “As we expected, our promotional efforts, our reputation for being a safe and family friendly fair, and our partnership with Reithoffer Shows, who delivered on their promise to bring a great carnival, further solidified our status as one of the top fairs in the country.”

Expo New Mexico, which hosts the annual New Mexico State Fair, is a state “enterprise,” meaning it must pay for itself. Though the Legislature does not fund Expo, it gives the 236-acre fairgrounds capital outlay money to maintain and improve its facilities.

State Fair revenues account for about one-third of Expo New Mexico’s total annual revenues, according to Expo officials.