Guess your Wait at the state fair

2


My family and I attended the North Carolina State Fair on Tuesday (weather was beautiful), and noticed two differences from previous years:

  1. Everything was more expensive -- getting in, riding the rides, and especially the food.
  2. It was easier to get around, because it wasn't so crowded. We didn't have to wait at any of the kiddie rides -- we were able to pretty much walk up and ride.

We expect the higher cost; the prices hike up every year. But we were surprised with the small crowds. That is, we were pleasantly surprised, because we were able to accomplish our state fair rituals in less time.

How small were the crowds? The State Fair folks post attendance numbers on their web site, so if you like big orange tables you can read the numbers there.

I like pictures, so I brought the data into SAS (using SAS Enterprise Guide) and created this chart. I used DATA step for the simple calculations and SGPLOT for the picture.

(Updated this post on 27Oct with final attendance numbers.)
Here is the SAS program that I used. If you run it, you might notice that the "Thu" column has missing values for all years except 2008. This year the fair opened on Thursday instead of Friday, thus 2008 has an extra day of numbers.

/** NC State Fair Attendance data through 26Oct2008 **/
/** source http://www.ncstatefair.org **/
DATA WORK.SF2008;
INFILE DATALINES DSD;
INPUT Year Thu Fri Sat Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu2 Fri2 Sat2 Sun2;
upper = max(Thu, Fri, Sat, Sun, Mon, Tue, Wed, Thu2, Fri2, Sat2, Sun2);
lower = min(Thu, Fri, Sat, Sun, Mon, Tue, Wed, Thu2, Fri2, Sat2, Sun2);
average = mean(Thu, Fri, Sat, Sun, Mon, Tue, Wed, Thu2, Fri2, Sat2, Sun2);
DATALINES4;
1986,,52175,112706,80606,53031,49670,58075,53576,71363,70293,37281
1987,,64877,107464,86873,58392,67388,49331,48230,59881,119531,43038
1988,,46249,114899,93392,52670,49437,68288,56214,31402,113854,58584
1989,,50330,115510,86635,53715,38119,52247,40096,65103,98122,54061
1990,,60074,85446,71633,47264,51361,109077,33997,75353,114977,56791
1991,,53869,110920,67441,41890,51594,89856,55666,73578,112582,53277
1992,,46646,100116,70281,39974,47703,62831,54709,88799,118006,55606
1993,,73448,83573,58207,45768,48377,58633,45781,69094,119448,62861
1994,,15546,80027,89212,86798,60788,47894,34876,72736,131604,58802
1995,,42479,69279,89237,43358,56257,58686,93179,47796,130092,68940
1996,,34455,110574,89309,54391,63995,43012,86285,74508,131287,71613
1997,,44106,54500,28736,56008,65099,82675,57399,77299,136939,31379
1998,,57948,110087,94660,53131,61238,55598,79440,72417,122276,72561
1999,,49812,104352,19762,55650,57779,26276,89598,87812,136832,79574
2000,,53331,107971,94959,69580,60275,58343,96904,86075,137513,81773
2001,,47940,77747,46540,51921,54116,57330,84975,84538,113450,76620
2002,,54036,86533,80685,34563,53226,73763,67634,46876,118905,80756
2003,,61364,115016,97655,54579,65923,64152,96614,78855,129589,70208
2004,,61289,118640,95043,60296,61288,57718,91556,88822,119461,82206
2005,,52201,103512,90153,52983,59945,61306,92233,81722,111634,90241
2006,,52527,94963,91768,55989,30840,65976,103323,81734,145461,63375
2007,,57798,102325,93473,63032,69817,75746,88801,63231,145955,98433
2008,35215,42666,87457,85495,54532,71199,67028,80094,63310,76926,101775
;;;;
RUN;
title "NC State Fair attendance variation 2008";
ods graphics /width=350px height=600px;
proc sgplot data=sf2008 ;
format upper comma10. lower comma10.;
xaxis label="Days of extreme attendance";
yaxis display=(nolabel);
hbar year / response = upper
	fillattrs=graphdata1
	legendlabel = "Highest daily attendance";
hbar year / response = lower
	barwidth=.5
	fillattrs=graphdata2
	transparency=.25
	legendlabel = "Lowest daily attendance";
dot year / response = average
	legendlabel="Average daily attendance";
keylegend / across=1;
run;

 

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Chris Hemedinger

Senior Manager, SAS Online Communities

+Chris Hemedinger is the manager of SAS Online Communities. Since 1993, Chris has worked for SAS as an author, a software developer, an R&D manager and a consultant. Inexplicably, Chris is still coasting on the limited fame he earned as an author of SAS For Dummies.  He also hosts the SAS Tech Talk webcasts each year from SAS Global Forum, connecting viewers with smart people from SAS R&D and the impressive work that they do.

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