PALMETTO -- Attendance at this year's Manatee County Fair is similar to that of last year, which ended with a record 172,000 fairgoers.
"We're estimating between 65,000 and 70,000 at this juncture," said Dan West, the fair manager, on Wednesday.
Unusually good weather coupled with a popular lineup of performers has helped to draw big crowds, he said.
"The forecast for the next seven days will be warmer, there's no rain in sight," said West. "We're very optimistic and happy to see that."
The fair began Jan. 17 and continues through Sunday at the Palmetto fairgrounds.
Among the most popular performers has been country Hall of Famer Don Williams, who attracted plenty of fairgoers to a show last week.
West predicted that younger fans will flock to see country rap star Colt Ford during
an appearance slated for 8 p.m. Friday.
"We think we'll pack the tent," said West.
A sea lion show based in Myakka City has been popular, along with "Steve the Pretty Good," a magician, West said.
This year's fair boasts 60 Midway rides and more than 50 food vendors, West said.
Details: Jan. 17-27, Manatee County Fairgrounds, 1303 17th St. W., Palmetto; admission: $8 for ages 13 and older, $7 for age 55 and older, $5 for children ages 6 to 12; free for kids age 5 and younger; parking is $5. Information: 941-722-8951 or www.manateecountyfair.com.
Sara Kennedy, Herald reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7031. Follow her on Twitter @sarawrites.com.