Crews are working through the day Monday at the Fresno Fairgrounds. It takes a crane to break down the largest rides at the fair, but just twelve hours after the gates closed for the last time on Sunday, some vendors are already on their way out.
The clean up is fast and efficient. Home is the next destination for many vendors who work the fair circuit.
“We can't wait to get here, and we can't wait to leave. It's our last show of the year so we can go home,” said Bob Jackson or Spud Shack.
Patrons of the Spud Shack gnawed their way through more than 6,000 ears of corn. Another popular item: deep fried artichoke hearts. Over 1,600 pounds were sold.
“I think it was a huge fair. Very, very successful,” said John Alkire, Fresno Fair C.E.O.
Alkire is proud of the turnout. The unaudited attendance from the 12 day event was 577,000, a 5% increase from 2011. The first day of the fair saw three times the usual attendance. There’s been a lot of positive feedback from new exhibits like the ‘Cloud Tank.’
“The cloud tank we got from George Lucas Films was probably one of the biggest hits of the fair. Everyone wanted to come see the tank that Star Wars was shot in,” said Alkire.
Speaking of fish, the catfish, which like to hide under the bridge at Catfish Falls, will soon be harvested and donated to the Poverello House.
Inside one of the fair buildings, many employees work their final days.
“This building is shut down in two days and my staff goes back to their normal life. Almost all of them have jobs, so they go back to their real lives and a lot of them even take vacation for this time of the year,” said Jennifer Waite, a Fresno Fair employee for 14 years.
Some 1,200 seasonal workers were hired for the fair and about 150 will be kept on for other events held at the fairgrounds. Meanwhile, Alkire is already planning for next year’s festivities, which may include a reptile exhibit. In 2013, there will be one extra day of the fair. The dates are October 2nd through the 14th.