By Brooke Rogers

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – The 2021 State Fair of Texas is officially in the books.

Big Tex welcomed more than 2.2 million visitors during the Fair’s 24-day run.

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Now, it’s cleanup time.

For the more than 200 small business owners who sell food, run rides, and games, this Fair was a collective sigh of relief.

“It represents about 30% of our annual revenue, so obviously having missed last year’s Fair, only doing the drive-through, we’re very happy to be back, very happy to have that revenue,” said Juan Reaves, co-owner of Smokey John’s Bar-B-Que and Ruth’s Tamale House.

Reaves said they battled through labor and supply shortages but heard very few complaints.

“Overall, I think people were really excited to be back at the Fair, to be outside, to kind of have that mingling and and to, for the most part, feel safe doing it,” he said.

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Monday, he and other concessionaires donated the leftover food to local food pantries and shelters, keeping it all within the community.

“We’ve got celery, onions, a lot of fruit, strawberries, pineapples, mangos, a lot of turkey legs, which is going to make our clients very happy,” said Andra Johnson of Cornerstone Dallas.

Fair executives said more than 500,000 Fletcher’s Corny Dogs were sold and more than 14.5 million kernels of popcorn were popped this year. And while attendance was less than 2019’s record-breaking numbers, that was expected.

“We weren’t really striving to break attendance records this year. We were looking to host a safe event where the community can come together and have some fun,” said Karissa Condoianis, State Fair of Texas spokesperson and Senior Vice President, Public Relations.

Planning an event of this size during a pandemic, she said, gave them a chance to reevaluate their operations and make some changes that could stick.

Giving people more space, like the petting zoo moving into Pan-Am Arena, seeing that that worked and people had more space to move around in there. We’ll continue to meet and decide what did work and what didn’t over the coming weeks and months as we look forward to 2022,” she said.

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If you’re already counting down, the Fair will be back in 341 days, running from September 30 through October 23, 2022.