Teri Finneman, Published July 18 2008
Fair board expects to net up to $60KFair officials say they expect to make a $50,000 to $60,000 profit from this year’s Red River Valley Fair.
Fair Manager Bryan Schulz presented the fair board with a financial update for the annual event during Thursday’s board meeting.
An estimated 90,000 to 100,000 people attended the nine-day fair in June, Schulz said. Attendance estimates are based on the $168,000 brought in by gate admission and taking into account the number of people who entered the fair for free, he said. Free gate admission was granted at certain times during the fair, and children 12 and younger entered for free throughout the event.
The exact fair profit won’t be known until all the bills come in, but the fair association is looking at a $50,000 to $60,000 profit, Schulz said.
Tornado warnings that shut down or canceled events during one night of the fair were “very costly for us,” said fair executive committee member Darnell Lundstrom. Schulz said the carnival estimated it would have brought in an additional $43,000 had it not been for weather delays.
Fair President Dave Strand said one area where the association needs to make improvements for next year is grandstand entertainment.
“We’re losing less than we used to, but that’s not good enough,” he said. “We have to look at what kind of acts we need to bring people in and how to price them.”
Strand suggested conducting a survey of what acts people want to see.
Schulz said scheduling grandstand events at the start and end of the fair was expensive because it cost about $12,000 to keep the stage set up for a week.
Some people questioned the need for a gate fee, Strand said.
But he said the fair provided $46,000 in free entertainment.
“You can’t operate without having some way to recover those expenses,” he said.
Admission fees also helped offset $35,000 that went to security and safety staffing, Schulz said.
“One of the very big things that I heard this year was there was really no trouble on the grounds,” he said. “They (fairgoers) felt safe when they walked in.”
Throughout the fair, officials also received compliments about how clean the grounds were and how helpful people were, Schulz said.
An audit by North Dakota Association of Fairs representatives also gave good marks to the fair. Schulz requested the review to see what his peers in the industry thought.
The fair ranked “good” in most categories and received “excellent” marks for cleanliness. It received a “fair” mark for adequate parking and “needs improvement” for parking proximity to events.
Schulz told the board he will have updated fair profit numbers at next month’s meeting.
Readers can reach Forum reporter Teri Finneman at (701) 241-5560