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Vendors, organizers grateful the Alaska State Fair returned in 2021

The Alaska State Fair in Palmer, Alaska.
The Alaska State Fair in Palmer, Alaska.(KTUU)
Published: Sep. 17, 2021 at 7:00 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - The 2021 Alaska State Fair is in the books, and because of COVID-19, things were done a little differently than in years prior.

Since there was no fair last year, event officials decided to regroup this year to make it happen.

“I feel like this year was a great success,” said Jerome Hertel, CEO of the Alaska State Fair. “We set out to do a fair this year and that was our goal, to produce a fair, and a three-weekend fair, and we accomplished what we set out to do.”

While fair officials have not made any decision on whether they will continue having the fair for three weeks instead of two, they did say it really all depends on what happens over the next year with the pandemic.

Alaska’s News Source spoke with a couple of vendors from this year’s fair to see what they thought of this year’s schedule, having the fair for three weeks with black-out days on Tuesday and Wednesday.

“We loved that they had the three-week format because then you have three weekends, and weekends are really when people come out, Friday through Sunday,” said Paul Adelman, owner and manager of the 6th Avenue Outfitters in downtown Anchorage.

He wasn’t the only one who enjoyed the new format.

Roy Villanueva and his wife, owners of Infusion Clothing and Lifestyles in Wasilla, were also vendors at the fair. Villanueva said they had a great year and that it was just exciting to see everyone again.

“We had a great year, this was a great year,” he said. “We’re just thankful we got to do it this year. And it was great, one of the best years ever.”

Both also said having the two days off in the middle of the week gave them time to refresh, restock and regroup.

“We had a great fair,” Adelman said. “We really missed not having a fair in 2020. Gazillions of people came out, there was obviously a huge demand for people to come back to the fair. For us it’s a ton of work, but it’s really, really fun.”

While fair officials don’t have the exact numbers yet on how many visitors there were in 2021, they did say the number is higher than their 10-year average. In 2019, there were a little more than 300,000 visitors, according to Hertel.

Hertel says many vendors have already signed up for the 2022 Alaska State Fair.

According to a Friday press release from the fair, tickets for both the Jon Pardi and Billy Idol performances sold out. So did tickets for the fair’s demolition derby and all three monster truck shows it put on.

The 4-H Junior Market Livestock Auction also set a new state record, according to the release, with the sale of 82 animals earning $352,000.

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