BOISE, Idaho (AP) -- Western Idaho Fair Director Bob Batista says he wasn't sure what kind of attendance to expect this year with the economy downturn forcing more local families to pinch pennies.

But despite the recession, Batista says more than 245,570 people showed up for carnival rides and other entertainment at the state fair in southwest Idaho last month.

Ticket sales at the gate were, however, down 2 percent compared to 2008 in what has not been easy year in the entertainment business for fair and carnival operators.

Fair officials did report an increase of 16 percent in advanced ticket sales -- some purchased six weeks early.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press.

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