The fair opens today for its extended 17-day runadding a third weekend to what has been a 12-day schedule. Nearly 860,000 people attended last year's fair, with a record crowd of 900,365 in 2004.
Fair officials are expecting more than 900,000 people this year. Spokesman Andy Klotz says organizers hope more families will make a second or third trip, although it is possible the crowd could be spread out over the additional days.
A Ball State University researcher is projecting that total attendance could top 1 million even though daily attendance might drop slightly.