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Weather rains on Red River Ex's parade; attendance down this year

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The final numbers are in for the 2013 Red River Ex and as expected, they came in a little low.

Winnipeg’s annual exhibition of carnival rides and concerts drew 175,971 paid customers through the turnstiles this year, a sharp decrease from the 214,599 that visited in 2012. The main reason for the 18 per cent decrease in attendance: rain.

"The weather was just atrocious, even to the point where we had to close early on Sunday for safety reasons," said Red River Ex CEO Garth Rogerson. "It was really coming down and the rides were getting flooded, so we closed at 10 o’clock.

"That was pretty indicative of how the whole year went for us."

Rogerson said the 10-day event never really seemed to get on track from the get-go, as rain washed away crowds through the opening weekend. The wet stuff, plus high-profile events like UFC 161 and Taylor Swift lining up as competition for entertainment dollars, and they never could catch up, attendance-wise.

The record for attendance at the Ex is 223,183 paid visitors, set in 2011.

Rogerson also didn’t have an update on the teenage boy who fell from a rollercoaster Thursday evening. The boy, 16, was hit by the ride when he tried to retrieve his cap on the tracks and was taken to the hospital in critical condition.

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