I've read a lot of comments about the new $1 price increase for a Minnesota State Fair ticket in 2014, so I just thought I'd throw a few facts from a fellow fair fan...
1. The Minnesota State Fair is governed by the Minnesota State Agricultural Society. It doesn't receive ANY tax dollars. It's not run by some greedy for-profit corporation in the Bahamas trying to squeeze every dollar from fair-goer's pockets, and it hasn't received any government funding assistance since 1949. "...in a typical year, the society will invest $5 to $6 million in fairgrounds improvement and maintenance. The state invests nothing."
It's completely self-sustaining, which means they have to generate money to pay for each year's fair. And they prices they pay aren't static. Occasional price increases are to be expected.
You can find more information here: http://www.mnstatefair.org/general_info/about_us.html
2. What about the cost for all these new improvements, like the new West End Market. Capital improvements are always necessary, and the Minnesota State Fair Foundation was created to solicit private donations from individuals and companies to preserve and improve the fairgrounds. Most of the general admission price goes to "running the fair". The Foundation was created to help raise funds independently for building improvements and preservation. The newer CHS Miracle of Birth building and AgStar Arena? Mostly funded through the foundation with private donations.
3. I hear a lot of comments about the ticket price just allows you get in the doors, and then you have to spend money for everything else. Fact: your admission price not only pays for the services of the 320-acre fair, but also includes a lot of entertainment and exhibitions for "free".
There is a variety of music playing on several stages ALL DAY LONG. And then there's the lumberjack show, the skate park with exhibitions, the trampoline show, the dog exhibitions at the Pet center, old west show with dogs at the Heritage Square.
Not to mention the free Coliseum horse shows and rodeos, the Arts A'Fair program started last year, Rock-it the robot, the daily parade. For kids there's the Little Farm Hands exhibit, and the giant sing-a-long. And the laser light show. And the fireworks... So much...
And of course, somebody's got to pay for the infrastructure needed to support over 200,000 people daily (sanitation, security, electricity, etc.).
4. In 2014, the advance ticket price for an adult is $10 ($13 at the door) - for one full day admission and all the entertainment at the fair. Here's some comparable ticket prices for adults.
A movie price - $7.50 for standard movie, $12.00 for a 3D movie (checked at the AMC Rosedal 14 for pricing)
Minnesota Zoo - $18.00 for Zoo only, $25.75 for the Zoo/IMAX combo
Valleyfair - $34.99 (plus $12 parking)
Renaissance Festival - $19.95
Bigfoot Action Figure - $14.95
Compared to other State Fairs
Texas State Fair - $17 ($15.50 in advance) - 2013 prices
Iowa State Fair - $11 ($8 in advance) - 2014 price
Wisconsin State Fair - $10 - 2013 price
Oregon State Fair - $11 ($7.00 in advance) - 2013 price
In terms of size and scale, the Minnesota State Fair is 2nd only to Texas in total attendance (and we're first if you look at the average daily attendance).
So, $10 for an advance ticket for ALL DAY is not a bad deal.
My advice to those still griping about the ticket increase. Create a swear jar and you'll pay for that ticket in no time...