FORT PIERCE, Fla. - Squeals of children flying high on the swings. The sizzle of the legendary donut burger cooking. Dance music pumping as a fast-working painter spray paints to the beat. Fairgoers could hear all these sounds at the St. Lucie County Fair on Friday.
"Hey. How are you? How many?" a ticket collector asked people waiting to get into the fair Friday night. There was a line of people before the fair gates opened at 4:30 p.m. on Friday.
Ticket prices haven't changed in the past several years. It's $10 for adults. If you bought early, it was only $6. More people took advantage of the discount this year than ever.
Fair general manager Jeanne Keaton counted more than 28,700 advance ticket orders. She said each order could range from one to more than 400 tickets.
"Phenomenal. We're up 22% over last year, and last year was 27% up over the year before," said Keaton.
Pete Fernandez bought six tickets for his family about a week ago.
"To save money. Times are tight. You need every dime you can get," he said.
Keaton says because people don't have disposable incomes like they used to, they turn to the fair. "The whole economy has made us a lot more aware of what we can do, and a lot of people can't go away on vacations anymore. This is kind of a vacation," said Keaton, with a smile.
She says everyone just wants to have a good time, at a good price, and that's what the fair has to offer.
Keaton is expecting a record number of fairgoers this year: 150,000 to 160,000 people. Last year, she says 130,000 attended.
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