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Organizer credits growth, new marketing strategy for increase in St. Lucie County Fair attendance

Attendance increases by 30%, official says
People attend the St. Lucie County Fair on Feb. 25, 2024.PNG
Posted at 6:33 AM, Feb 26, 2024
and last updated 2024-02-26 08:50:39-05

FORT PIERCE, Fla. — Shakina Butts doesn't have time to sit down during the dinner rush at the St. Lucie County Fair.

The manager at JoJo's Wings said this is their fifth year serving chicken wings at the annual fair. She said 2024 is likely the busiest year yet.

"Every year seems like it gets busier and busier," Butts said. "There was a lot of traffic. I think yesterday they had lines all the way down the road. People were waiting an hour and a half to just get into the fair.”

Jay Spicer, the executive director at the St. Lucie County Fair Association, said the fair's attendance increased by 30%. He credited the increase to more people living in St. Lucie County and a new marketing strategy.

"St. Lucie County, they tell us, out of every 1,000 people who move to Florida every day, 20% of them are moving to St. Lucie County," Spicer said. "So the growth is going to help our event naturally and the businesses that facilitate in St. Lucie County."

Spicer also showed WPTV photos showing the traffic backing up from the weekend. Spicer said he believes the problem comes from the fairgrounds having one entrance and plans to ask the county to create another entrance for traffic.

Spicer also said the best part of the increase is that their purpose — educating people about agriculture in a family-friendly atmosphere — is a success.

Butts said the increase in traffic allows her food truck to make more sales. She said she believes the increase in traffic is coming from the increased development in the county.

"I believe all the new people moving in and coming in is bringing more money, bringing more people and people are coming out and enjoying themselves," Butts said.

Drivers also waited for hours to enter the South Florida Fair in Palm Beach County in January. Fair officials blamed the traffic on not having enough parking spots to meet demand, which it said was also increased due to the lack of rain during the weekend.

The fairgrounds also lost a few hundred parking spots from a new warehouse.