Nikki Preston is a Herald reporter based in Hamilton.

Tough times prove good for Fieldays

The annual agricultural expo attracted 130,684 visitors over the four days, almost as many as in 2006 when 131,000 flocked to Mystery Creek. Photo / Alan Gibson
The annual agricultural expo attracted 130,684 visitors over the four days, almost as many as in 2006 when 131,000 flocked to Mystery Creek. Photo / Alan Gibson

Near-record crowds flocked to Fieldays near Hamilton, making it one of the biggest years in the event's history.

The annual agricultural expo attracted 130,684 visitors over the four days, almost as many as in 2006 when 131,000 flocked to Mystery Creek.

National Fieldays Society chief executive Peter Nation said the impressive turnout added support to the theory that in an economic downturn, gate numbers rose.

"We know through evidence a number of farmers like time off the farm ...

"They go to the event anyway because it's a good day out."

Mr Nation said it also showed there was more to the rural industry than just dairy and believed other areas such as honey and kiwifruit contributed to the success.

"The clothing businesses [were busy] this year. One business sold out of all their product on Friday and had nothing for Saturday."

Research shows Fieldays, now in its 48th year, contributed $400 million to the economy and $150 million of that was spent directly in the Waikato region.

The event also attracted more international visitors with delegates from 42 countries including newcomers Cuba and Vietnam.

- NZ Herald

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