One addition of welcome

The Chautauqua County Fair draws a number of people to the Dunkirk area. There’s no official way to know, but we suspect most of those in attendance are from Chautauqua County.

Chautauqua County Fair Board of Directors member Dave Wilson guessed the fair had between 45,000-50,000 people. “That’s basically the average. I don’t think we’re going to gain more people over time,” he said.

There is one way that it could increase attendance and that would be to reach out to a headlining music artist.

On Tuesday, the Warren County Fair had Neal McCoy perform. On Saturday, the Langford-Oregon Fire Department hosted Phil Vassar as part of its Down-Home Country Weekend. Last week the Cattaraugus County Fair had Joe Nichols in concert. All three singers are national acts and have fans across the country. And all three communities are much smaller than Chautauqua County.

The Chautauqua County Fair hasn’t hosted a national act in nearly 20 years. Fair officials have been reluctant, mainly because of weather. That makes sense. The night Fredonia native Ruthie Collins sang it was cold and rainy. Weather can dampen any concert atmosphere.

If the county fair wants to grow in attendance, it needs to find a way to create a covered grandstand. There have been state grants available for county fairs. There are private grants as well.

A covered grandstand would also make the county fairgrounds more marketable for other large-scale entertainment opportunities.

It would be nice to see more national acts coming to the local area.