Organizers Trying To Reinvent State Fair

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Organizers of the Nevada State Fair concede that attendance at the annual event has been falling off in recent years, so they hope to reinvent the fair this August.

They think people have stayed home because the fair has featured the same events year after year.

This summer, they plan a carnival, motorcycle stunt show, women's barrel racing, monster trucks, a demolition derby and a reptile show.

Other events at the Reno Livestock Events Center include showing kids how to make yo-yos and a hands-on science exhibit.

"Were starting over," said Mike Clements, chief executive officer of the 130th Nevada State Fair, which will be held Aug. 25-29.

Fair spokesman Steve Schroeder said there's more to the fair than vegetables and livestock.

"We can bring in better acts, better revenues and better recognition to our community."

After the decline in attendance, new shows last year included a dirt bike race, an alligator show, comedians and jugglers. Attendance rose by 25 percent, despite two consecutive days of rain that closed the fair early one night.

Amy Nesler, who has attended the fair since she was a child and was last years Nevada State Fair Queen, noticed changes in the kinds of shows last year.

"It was more focused to youth experiences and open not to just agriculture," she said. "It was way more inviting."

Officials put the cost of staging this year's fair at $700,000, Clements said. A Feb. 11 fund-raiser, "Carnival of the Crab," raised about $45,000.

Admission fees, concession sales, parking fees, fees charged to businesses putting on specialty acts, sponsors and membership drives are expected to make up the difference. Ticket prices for this year have not been established.