State Fair Strategies: What's The Payoff For Lowering Ticket Prices?

Aug 1, 2014

It's August, which means state fair season is underway in the Northwest. From new names to lower ticket prices, fair organizers are trying hard to get people through the gates.

A Ferris wheel at the 2013 Oregon State Fair.
Credit Chris Lehman / Northwest News Network

Remember the Puyallup Fair?

It's now the Washington State Fair. The name change was meant to broaden its appeal. In Oregon, ticket prices have been slashed for the 149th edition of the Oregon State Fair, which starts Aug. 22. It follows a nearly 6 percent drop in attendance from the year before. State Fair spokesman Dan Cox says the lower prices are meant to do exactly what you think: get more people to come. But Cox says the fair is also wary of cutting prices too much.

"There is a balance point between delivering a value and still making enough money for it to function on its own and to prosper on its own," Cox said.

That’s what state fairs have to do now. They still show off craft displays and hold livestock competitions, but they also peddle cotton candy and corn dogs. So even with a lower ticket price, fair-goers still have plenty of chances to contribute to the bottom line.

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