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Fair prices increase
Board cites added expenses and state budget uncertainty for decision
Fun seekers will have to spend $2 more for a gate ticket to the 2010 Stanislaus County Fair. - photo by Journal file photo
• 229,485 people attended the 2009 Stanislaus County Fair
• 33 percent of attendees used a coupon or other discount on gate fees
• By increasing gate prices to $12, the fair will increase revenue by $229,000
• Fair receives $110,000 annually from the state
• The fair’s overall budget for 2009 was $3.4 million

Stanislaus County Fair attendees might get a surprise this summer when they reach for their wallets at the gate. Tickets prices have gone up for adults who purchase tickets at the gate during the fair.
The 38th District Agricultural Association (Stanislaus County Fair) Board of Directors unanimously voted on Monday to increase gate prices from $10 to $12.
“The cost of doing business has gone up. Everything we do business with has gone up,” said Anthony Leo, interim fair CEO.
The decision to raise gate prices was discussed at a previous board meeting in November. At that time the board agreed to send their budget to the State of California with a $1 increase in gate fees. They postponed the actual fee increase vote until Monday in order to further investigate gate ticket revenues and the possibility of a $2 increase.
At the Finance Advisory Committee meeting on Monday, staff presented an estimate of how much revenue the fair gains from gate ticket sales. Staff found that 33 percent of all attendees present a coupon when they purchased tickets at the gate. Taking the number of discount tickets into consideration, the staff estimated that by raising gate ticket prices to $12 the fair could increase ticket sale revenue by almost $230,000.
In addition to an increase in the cost of doing business, fair board members cited worries about state budget problems for the increase in fees. The Stanislaus County Fair receives about $110,000 a year from the state. Leo said that the fair does not receive funding until the state budget is passed in July, and there is no guarantee of funding this year. With earlier fair dates in 2010, word of funding might not come until well after the fair is over.
“There’s almost a panic in Sacramento right now,” said Board member Ray Souza.
The Stanislaus County Fair has charged a $10 adult gate fee since 2008. Prior to 2008, gate admission costs were $8 for adults. Children’s admission prices will remain at $3 for children over 5 years old, and children under five get free admission to the fair.
Also at Monday’s meeting, board members said good-bye and good luck to Pennie Rorex, communications director and spokesperson for the Stanislaus County Fair. Rorex has accepted a position at Emanuel Medical Center as associate vice president of Corporate Communication and Marketing. This is Rorex’s last week at the fair, and the board has already interviewed for a part-time replacement.
“Pennie has left a great trail behind for somebody to follow,” Leo said.
For now the Communication Director position will be filled with a seasonal, part-time employee. Leo said that the next CEO will have to decide if the position should be filled on a full-time basis.
To contact Andrea Goodwin, e-mail or call 634-9141 ext. 2003.