Email The 2011 Northwest Montana Fair saw significant attendance increases over the 2010 fair, a feat that included ticket sales and exhibit entries. According to Flathead County fair manager Mark Campbell, total ticket attendance from Aug. 17 to Aug. 21 for exhibits and events was up 4 percent over last year’s numbers, to 78,508. “It was very, very good,” Campbell said in an interview last week. “We consider it a very successful fair.” Both of this year’s concerts had higher attendance than last year, with the Little Big Town show pulling in a record 2,952 fans. Christian rock band Newsboys brought in 1,558 fans. Campbell said he believes concert attendance picked up this year because of lower ticket prices and more emphasis on getting the word out about the shows. Attendance at the Ram PRCA Rodeo also increased dramatically, up to 12,000 people over the three-day event. That’s 21 percent higher than last year’s rodeo, Campbell said. There were also roughly 8,500 entries in exhibits for the 4-H, FFA and Open Class competitions, and Campbell said the most anyone could remember from prior fairs was close to 7,000. Gross sales at the livestock market topped last year’s sales by more than $29,000. The Inland Empire Shows Carnival also saw an attendance increase, with ridership up 13 percent over 2010’s fair. Campbell noted that the fair office is still in the beginning stages of processing other specific program statistics, but feels he got a mostly positive response from concessionaires about their sales. The fair was also considered a success because of the “intangible” elements that can enhance fairgoers’ experiences, Campbell said. “There are some intangibles that we really can’t put numbers to, and that was the community coming together, all different walks of life and interests,” he said. “That created a really neat, positive environment throughout the whole facility.” As far as security and safety, Campbell said there were no major incidents, and there was a “great response” to the situations that did arise. The rodeo caused some bruises and scrapes, but nothing much more than that, he said. The Flathead County Fairgrounds also got some help from Mother Nature over the course of the 108th annual fair. “The weather was awesome,” Campbell said. “It was just perfect.” Campbell said the fair office is already working on the 2012 Northwest Montana Fair, which is scheduled to run from Aug. 15 to Aug. 19, and he hopes to build on this year’s successes to make next year’s fair even better. Stay Connected with the Daily Roundup. Sign up for our newsletter and get the best of the Beacon delivered every day to your inbox.