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Temperatures in the 90s hampered attendance and brought a decline in business for vendors at the 2013 Corn Palace Festival. (Sean Ryan/Daily Republic)

High temperatures affect festival attendance

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The heat took a toll on the 2013 Corn Palace Festival with fewer carnival goers Saturday and some food vendors not doing as well

"Things went smoothly," said Mark Schilling, director of the Corn Palace. "The one thing we can't control is the heat."

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According to Schilling, Wednesday had good sales but Saturday was lower compared to last year because of the hot weather, with many festival participants looking mostly for water. Hot food vendors suffer from the warm weather, he added.

The official numbers will come in at the end of the festival but the number of Passport to Fun sales are higher than last year. The week long offer of $49 for unlimited carnival rides are up a "handful" of sales from last year, said Schilling.

The festival brought four headline acts performing Thursday through Sunday evening, including country music star Dwight Yoakam and comedian/ventriloquist Terry Fator.

"Overall we had great entertainment," said Schilling.

The acts ended Sunday evening with The Happy Together tour. The show sold 1,598 tickets out of 2,600 seats coming in third among the four headline acts. Fator and Yoakam took the No. 1 and 2 spots with 2,536 and 1,825 out of 2,600 tickets sold respectively. Saturday night's show with Craig Morgan and special guest Gloriana sold 1,383 tickets.

Fator, the 2007 winner of "America's Got Talent" and headline performer at The Mirage in Las Vegas, Nev., was the least well-known performer this year at the Corn Palace. When the Corn Palace booked him people called to ask what his show was like, Schilling said.

"Now everyone knows him and his story," said Schilling. "Fator was a highlight."

The festival didn't have to compete with high school sports for the first time in many years, Schilling said. The only competition came from DakotaFest and getting people to come out to the carnival after working or visiting the agriculture event. Picking a week to hold the festival is tough to decide "what to compete or not to compete against," said Schilling.

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