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Hot temperatures impact Montana Fair sales in Billings

Posted at 6:50 PM, Aug 17, 2018
and last updated 2019-07-17 14:51:53-04

BILLINGS- Last Thursday we previewed the expected hot temperatures to kick off Montana Fair here in Billings and highlighted the fact that we had the potential to see the three warmest days in the last five years of the fair.

As it turned out, last Friday was a couple degrees cooler than forecast and fell into a tie for third, but Sunday and Saturday, 103 and 102 degrees respectively, solidly occupy the number one and two spots and are the only 100 degree fair days we have seen in the last 5 years. Saturday was the first 100 degree day in August since 2011.

MetraPark spokesman Ray Massie said the high temperatures on the fair’s opening weekend caused a drop-off in food and ride sales, but that food sales have rebounded in a big way as temperatures leveled out over the course of this week.

The prior hottest day at the fair in the last five years was a 99 degree day on Aug. 14, 2015, and the average high temperature during the dates of the fair in that same time frame was 86.9 degrees.

The updated chart below contains a new line for 2018, where I used forecast numbers to account for the contributions to the average temperature of the second Friday and Saturday, the last two days of the 2018 fair. Neither day should affect the high or low temperatures for 2018.

Year Fair Dates High Temp (Date) Low Temp (Date) Average Temp
2018 August 10-18 103° (12) 77° (13) 90.8°
2017 August 11-19 92° (18) 73° (14) 84.8°
2016 August 12-20 93° (17) 69° (19) 84.1°
2015 August 7-15 99° (14) 68° (8) 88.8°
2014 August 8-16 98° (12) 77° (14) 88.8°
2013 August 9-17 93° (16) 79° (9) 88.1°

The average high temperature of this year’s fair was two degrees higher than the highest average over the last 5 years (2014/2015) and almost 4 degrees higher than the overall average of the five year sample from 2013-2018.