Central Washington State Fair helps local economy

YAKIMA, Wash. - It's a fun-filled event friends and families anticipate all year. The fair's been an ongoing tradition for some families.

"My kids like to get on rides so it's fun to see their expression," said Jessica Simmons.

Over 235,000 people showed up to the fair this year. Opening day had more people this year than last year. But overall attendance dropped by 11%. A main reason was the weather. But it didn't stop many from still having a good time.

"It's been kind of crazy, you know hot one day, cold one day but you just got to go with it," said Jessica.

"We watched the weather the whole time and finally we said we better go or it's going to be over," said John Dalrymple.

John worried it would be raining and windy. And said the weather this year hasn't been as good as the last five years.

"You don't see me with a coat on very often and I got a sweater on," said John.

Vendors said the slow economy also played a role.

"We have a lot of people stop by the booth," said Doug Huntley. "They love our presentation and they'll leave by saying, well you have a business card? Can I get them on the internet? We just don't have the money right now."

However, businesses around Yakima saw more customers over the last week. Hotels in the area said more people were checking in because of the fair. And year after year it's helped the local economy.

The Central Washington State Fair had about 250 vendors participating this year.