ANCHORAGE, Alaska — A large crowd enjoyed one final sunny day at the Alaska State Fair. The 12-day event came to a close Monday evening.
Now vendors have a chance to dry out after what has been a pretty rainy few weeks out in Palmer. There was a pleasant surprise Monday, however: clear blue sky with plenty of sunshine.
The weather brought out thousands of visitors and backed up traffic on the Glenn Highway all the way to the Parks Highway interchange.
Vendors gave mixed responses when asked how business was this year. Many farmers said this has been one of their worst harvests in decades. They say it's just as bad as the chilly summer two years ago.
The Mat-Su Valley Farm Bureau said potatoes are good, but other crops are down by about 10 percent compared with last year.
“Well it's enormous amounts of rain, we thrive on sunshine and it’s good to get some rain, but we can make rain. We can irrigate. We can’t make sunshine,” said Don Berberich with the Mat-Su Farm Bureau.
Vendors selling clothing say they noticed many fairgoers came unprepared and were willing to spend up to $40 on a hooded sweatshirt. It warmed up business, especially for first-time vendors like Alaska Love Clothing.
“Sales have been high. We were surprised how many people actually came out in the rain last Saturday when it was pouring so hard… It's the fair so you got to come, I suppose,” said Marne Lastufka with Alaska Love Clothing.
Fair organizers say last year about 300,000 people attended the fair. They say it will be a few days before there are preliminary numbers on this year's attendance.
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