Really? Yes, we have an example.
The Arizona State Fair is a big event and usually a pretty dry experience. It is, after all, in the Phoenix area and we have it on good authority that it is usually sunny and desert-like.
But for some reason, known only to people who know science and stuff, it rained for six days. The rain was so heavy, rides had to be shut down. Things were looking bad. “Many people deferred their visit because of the rain, which was unusual for Arizona, because we don’t usually get rain this time of year,” said Kristi Walsh, Assistant Executive Director of the Fair. “Considering the weather, the fact the fair was only down about 5 percent is positive.”
Yes, things were looking bleak for the Fair organizers until GusGus went missing.
GusGus was just three weeks old at the time of his abduction by unknown bad people. He was taken from the petting zoo on the fairgrounds and was not located for ten days. The search for this poor little goat brought attention to the moist midway just as P.T. Barnum predicted.
“We made international news, it was one of the biggest stories we’ve ever had the fair,” said Walsh. “We got a lot of extra publicity for the fair that we never had before.
“We had international coverage, reports in France and Canada, we were fielding a lot of calls. There were reports that Gus-Gus misses his mommy,” said Walsh. “The Petting Zoo manager said it was not healthy for the baby goat to be away from his mother and people took it to heart.”
A Good Samaritan walking his or her dog found GusGus about ten miles from the fairgrounds and brought to him PetsMart. (We did not know that was the protocol for found farm animals but it makes sense to us and will be in the next edition of our Illustrated What to Do Guide).
“It was really great, our media partners covered the story and our Facebook fans were posting about GusGus,” Walsh said. “They really put out the word, and it was refreshing that there were so many people who cared about the goat as opposed to some bad people who would actually steal a goat.”
The publicity not only brought attention to the fair, “but it was promotional too, the social media really got a hold of the story and ran with it. I think it pushed attendance too, people came to the fair to see GusGus,” Walsh said.