Today we asked the N.C. Board of Agriculture for permission to raise prices for admission tickets, and they approved our request to move forward with the rule change. If approved, admission ticket prices will increase by $1 for both adult and children’s tickets in time for the 2013 N.C. State Fair. This does not affect ride ticket prices.
We don’t like raising ticket prices, and we’ve avoided doing so for some time. Ticket prices have been mostly stagnant, even as inflation has caused other fairs to raise ticket prices. We are proud to be one of the most affordable fairs in the country, with admission prices on par, or cheaper even, than many county fairs across the state. And we will remain one of the most affordable fairs, even with the increase.
What most people don’t realize is that even though we are owned and operated by a state government agency, we don’t get any taxpayer funding. We have to operate and make improvements based on the money we bring in during the annual fair and through building rentals throughout the year. Like for you, our costs are rising – payroll, utility, environmental and material expenses are eating our profits, leaving less for capital improvements. And there are a lot of improvements and construction projects that need to be done to realize the master plan we envisioned a few years ago.
Anyone who has been to the fair in the last decade knows that we are busting out of the seams in all the buildings, even with the construction of the Expo Center in 2005. We’ve had great attendance the last few years and we’ve reinvested a lot of the money, but the improvements the past few years haven’t been glamorous. Repairing sewer lines, installing new fiber optic lines, repaving parking lots and building campgrounds don’t draw as much attention as a new building, but they are necessary. After all, the fairgrounds is a small city during the month of October. We have to continue investing in the infrastructure needs, save up to build new buildings and keep enough money in the bank to open the gates each October.
Under the new pricing structure, adult admission would be $7 in advance of the fair and $9 at the gate. Gate admission for children ages 6-12 would be $4, with a $1 discount for buying tickets in advance. However, we promise an experience that will be worth your money. We’re still cheaper than going to the movies and you’ll get a whole lot more from the experience. We’re looking forward to announcing the lineup of grounds acts, stage acts and Dorton concerts. Plus, we’ll have all the great exhibits you have come to expect from us year after year. We don’t like to raise prices, but we do think it’s time and it’s worth it so that we can continue to bring you a high quality fair experience.
We look forward to seeing you Oct. 17-27, 2013!