14,000 concertgoers attended Blondie’s show Wednesday evening, but how did fair officials get that number? It takes a lot of estimation.
Acting Fair Director Troy Waffner and Jim Crosby, who’s worked at the fair for more than 50 years, spent the Blondie concert up high above the crowd, on top of the white overlooks.
“You can come up here and tell what the crowd’s going to be,” said Waffner, “it’s gridded off and measured, so we know how many people will fit in each space and then it’s a little more by crowd density, we walk around, we get the feel for the crowd, and then he and I each pull out our numbers.”
“We know how many seats we have, there’s seats for 2,700 people, then we measure square footage of different areas around the court, so we can tell by how shoulder to shoulder or how far away people are,” said Crosby.
The two say each person takes up about three square feet. They then estimate their own numbers–Troy, usually a little more optimistic, goes high, and then Jim goes low.
“There’s a grid sheet for this year, with the different areas, that we’ve measured out, and then we just go around and put down numbers of what we think are in that particular area and then add them up,” said Crosby.
Crosby guesstimated 14,500 people in attendance, Waffner said 15,000. They eventually settled on 14,000.