2021 Tanana Valley State Fair sees attendance similar to 2019 levels

Published: Aug. 12, 2021 at 4:42 PM AKDT
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - The 2021 Tanana Valley State Fair carried much anticipation, being the first in two years.

According to Executive Director Mahla Shrohmaier, attendance was comparable to 2019. “Our first weekend was huge. We had really high numbers, and then it dwindled a bit at the beginning of the week, which is to be expected, but then we had rain the last weekend which kind of tested people.”

But on the event’s last day, Shrohmaier said fairgoers held on through the wet weather. “People weren’t leaving. People were walking around completely wet. There were, I think, 25 people in line at each of the photo booths, so that was pretty funny to watch; but overall, the attendance was really good.”

Preparation for this year’s fair proceeded in an atmosphere of uncertainty. “We really didn’t know what to expect, post-COVID,” Strohmaier said, adding, “People have been doing it for so long that it’s sort of a given that we’re going to have certain vendors, and we’re going to have a certain structure, and we’re going to have certain volunteers - and after COVID, it kind of shook it all up.”

Some vendors were lost due to lack of supplies. Fortunately, new vendors stepped in to fill in the gap. This year, Shrohmaier said they were spaced out as a safety measure. “With the redesign, it looked a little bit more sparse even though we had more vendors.”

And hopes are high for next year’s fair. “Mostly we were all very happy to be part of a community... feels like we were part of a community again,” Strohmaier said.

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