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New York State Fair Reduces Ticket Prices, Prepares for 18-day Run

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WAER News
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It’ll cost less to get through the gates of the New York State Fair this summer.  Director Troy Waffner says they’re cutting gate and advance sale ticket costs in half, to the lowest levels in 30 years.

"We looked at what the average ticket price comes out to with all the discounts, about $3.25. Se we figured we would set a $5 gate price, a $3 price online. Online sales will start April 1, but they will run through the end of the fair."

But the fair is eliminating the retail advance ticket option, because, Waffner says, sales have been falling with the various daily promotional discounts.  Plus, he says strictly online advance sales will give them real time data on how many visitors to expect so they can staff accordingly.  Waffner says they’ve done the math, and the lower prices won’t impact the fair’s bottom line.

"Gate admission is maybe 10% of our total budget. Most of our revenue comes from vendor rent, sponsorship fees, things like that. Part of how we justify how much we charge there is the increasing number of people coming through the gates."

Revenue soared to 1.3 million in 2019, up 46 percent in four years.  That could go up with an expanded 18 day fair, which Waffner says they’re planning for even though the state legislature hasn’t yet approved the funding.  He sees the extra time as an opportunity to attract more people to the region with the agricultural component as the fair’s foundation.

"The State Fair is still the State Fair, it's just that it has transformed more into a music and food festival. We had 54 national acts, we probably had 300 more acts that played on the grounds during those days, we had 425 food vendors. It's really become an experience all by itself, just to come out and enjoy it not just once but multiple times for a lot of people."

The fair begins Friday, August 21st and runs through Labor Day, September 7th.