SYRACUSE, NY (WRVO) – The New York State Fair is doing something you don’t see a lot of these days: cutting prices. Starting this year, it will cost $5 to get into the fair, down from the $10 price that’s been in place since 2005.
The last time it cost $5 to get into the fair, it was 1990. The big entertainment acts were Michael Bolton and Little Feat. This latest move stabilizes ticket prices that in recent year had become a jumble of pre-sale prices and special dollar days from anyone wearing a college tee-shirt to visitors with a fishing license.
“In the past years we’ve done a number of discounts before the fair and during the fair, and we came to an average price of about $3.25. So we’re going to stabilize the price to $5 if you buy it from a person at the gate and $3 if you buy it online,” said fair director Troy Waffner.
The move flies in the face of what other fairs are doing. But Waffner said if it leads to more attendance, the lower price is worth it.
“We use attendance to justify the rents we charge to the vendors when they come here,” he said. “It’s worth it to reduce admission a little bit to gain bigger on the back end with the vendors.”
The fair will keep admission perks for certain groups like seniors, and children under 12 will still be free. This new pricing system also offers fairgoers a cheaper digital deal. Anyone buying a ticket online or with a mobile app will pay $3 per ticket. Waffner admits it’s about time the fair became more digitally friendly.
“When you go on Amazon and you can get a 1,000 Prime products and get them delivered in a day, we are lagging behind because we aren’t doing as much online as other fairs and places are,” he said.
Ultimately, Waffner expects the online aspect will mean fewer fair employees selling tickets, and he said that will coincide with the natural attrition of an aging fair workforce.
The $3 tickets go on sale April 1.