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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

‘Back to normal’: Spokane County Interstate Fair sees pre-COVID-19 numbers in 2022

The Spokane County Interstate Fair was back in form in 2022 after concluding on Sunday with strong numbers.

The Spokane County Interstate Fair ended after 10 days of mutton bustin’, livestock showing, rodeos, musical acts, carnival rides, and more fair food than you can shake a deep-fried corndog at.

The fair’s biggest single-day attendance was around 43,000 people back in 2019, but 2022 came in close behind with 41,361 attendees this past Saturday, according to fair spokeswoman Mary Kay Repp, of Genesis Marketing.

“I think our favorite thing was that our fair was finally back to normal,” Repp said. “2019 was an exceptional year for the fair. Lots of things in the final report will show we were over that.”

The Spokane County Interstate Fair was reduced to a drive-thru in 2020 to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. The fair had a somewhat rocky year in 2021 as mask mandates changed during the middle of the 10-day event and were not often followed by attendees.

“This year was really good,” Repp said.

Food vendors and carnival rides saw some of the highest sales ever, she said.

The fair also saw “enormous traffic” and “really high sellouts” for its musical performances, rodeo and destruction derby events in the Grandstand Arena, she said.

The fair sold out of tickets for hip-hop artist Nelly on Thursday. It was the first musical sell-out at the fair since the Beach Boys performed in 2009, Repp said.

This year also brought country music artist Cole Swindell to the stage and country/blues singer Elle King.

Fair organizers are considering expanding some of the new programming across all 10 days of the fair, including the art walk on Friday night. For the first time this year, 11 local artists competed in a live art demonstration by painting on 4-foot-by-8-foot canvases. The fair may expand that program to children and amateur artists as well, Repp said.

The fair is also considering expanding its cornhole tournament, dance competition and costume competition across all 10 days of the fair as well.

“The new things that we put in place were super fun, and we’re quite certain were going to do them again,” Repp said.

The 2023 Spokane County Interstate Fair is scheduled to take place Sept. 8-17.