Kansas State Fair vendors assess this year's fair

"I think there just weren't as many people here," says Leanne Russell.

This year was her 38th at the Kansas State Fair, and she's certain that poor attendance affected her sales.

"We have a festival we go to in October, it's only four days, and the worst day of those four days is better than our best day here," says Russell.

"The last couple of years have been down a little bit from previous years. There might be a bit of a trend there," says Morgan Stremmel.

She works fairs across the country and thinks recent amusement ride incidents may have at least partially caused a drop in attendance.

"Since we did have a major ride incident this summer, that's pretty much affected everywhere that we've been since then a little bit, not a lot," says Stremmel.

Other things vendors think may have affected attendance include weather, prices, and the entertainment the fair provides.

Matthew Hall disagrees. He says the people were at the fair, they just weren't spending as much.

"I think the attendance was on par, maybe up a little bit," says Hall.

"When temperatures get above 85, people don't tend to eat as much. They're just looking for something to drink to stay hydrated," he says.

That means vendors sell less food - one of the main draws of the fair.

"I think we did have some days that were a little softer, but we had some days that were a little heavier," says Susan Sankey, General Manager for the fair.

She says until they get the latest data on attendance numbers, it's hard to say for sure how this year compares to others.

Vendors are hopeful that whatever that data shows, the fair will use it to get more people coming back in the future.

"I think the management here is trying to make a difference. That's all we can do is try and evaluate, and move forward," says Stremmel.

State fair managers say they're hopeful the new electronic ticketing system will help with planning future events and allow them to better track attendance and traffic patterns to get a better idea of where improvements can be made.