In an effort to thank supporters and help vendors in the wake of the deadly stage collapse, the cost of admission was waived at the Indiana State Fair on Friday.
Officials said they made the offer to thank Hoosiers for being supportive in the days after the rigging above the main stage collapsed Saturday night, killing six people and injuring 45 others.
Indiana State Fair Stage Collapse
"We have been showered with tremendous get-well wishes and praying-for-you kind of thoughts, and so many people have done things to contribute to the remembrance fund," said fair spokesman Andy Klotz.
The attendance-boosting move was also aimed at helping the vendors, who have seen slim business since the tragedy.
"We have an obligation to bring in as many people as we can for the vendors and concessionaires that are on the grounds, and we hope that something like this will do that," Klotz said.
"It certainly can't hurt (my numbers)," said vendor Jeff Dunmyer.
Some fair visitors were surprised they didn't have to pay at the gate Friday.
"I was not expecting it whatsoever," said Michelle Foelber. "To be able to be here and bring my son and walk around, I am just so excited about that."
After closing the fair Sunday, the day after the tragedy, attendance numbers have been down about 10 percent, fair officials said.
Last year, the event attracted 952,000 over its 17-day run. This year, 700,000 people have turned out.
Still, this year's event is expected to be one of the largest in the country this year. The fair ends Sunday.
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