ABILENE, Texas -

The West Texas Fair and Rodeo is the biggest moneymaker for the Taylor County Expo Center. Thousands attended the fair this weekend and everyone had their own reason for being there.

"The petting zoo, I get a big kick out of the petting zoo," said Sandra Jensen of Abilene, who visited the fair with her family Sunday.

"Getting to ride the Ferris wheel," said Cydney Nelson, 10, of Abilene.

What fair goers may not realize is how big of an impact their money can make on the economy in Abilene.

"We hope what we make on the fair will help sustain us during those lean times of the winter months and help us to gear up for Western Heritage and so forth," said Taylor County Expo Center General Manager Rochelle Johnson.

When judges, officials, and carnival employees roll into town their hotel rooms and meals can help out, too.

"Not only does the fair bring in folks from out of town, but the Expo Center and the fair are spending money locally in our economy," said Johnson.

Johnson said she estimates the fair will bring in $200,000, but she said weather can really affect those numbers. This weekends lower temperatures might have helped ease some of those concerns.

"I think the weather is gonna pull in a lot of people and everybody's gonna have a lot of fun today," said Jensen.

"The cooler weather makes it more enjoyable. You can walk around and enjoy it," said Kathryn Glackmeyer, who visited the fair Sunday with her 4-year-old daughter.

The Taylor County Expo Center said they are up $1,200 compared to last years numbers at this time. So far they've had almost 11,000 entry sales.

One popular reason to visit The West Texas Fair and Rodeo is, of course, the food.

The Abilene Health Department spends a few days before the fair checking to make sure everything meets the required health codes.

They said most often problems have to do with flies or temperature of the food being served. The food safety codes they follow are a little different than other restaurants.

"We have special regulations, if you will, that are taken out of the Texas Food Establishment rules that basically apply to an environment like The West Texas Fair," said Glenn Bailey, the Abilene Environmental Health Manager.

The health department said they have not seen any major problems.

The West Texas Fair and Rodeo runs through September 15th. The rodeo starts this Tuesday.