WARSAW — Kosciusko County Fair Board approved plans on Monday, Nov. 11, to restructure ticket prices for the annual fair.
The price of admission had been $5 for adults (13 and up) and $3 for children (6-12).
Beginning next year, admission for anyone age 10 and older will be $8 and it will include admission to grandstand events. That means children up to the age of 9 get in free.
Senior admission remains unchanged at $3.
The change was approved without opposition at a fair board meeting Monday night, Nov. 11.
The adult ticket price had been the same for more than 10 years until Monday.
Randy Shepherd, first vice president, said he had previously opposed a change in ticket prices.
“Times have changed. I think we have to look at where we are at today with the other counties,” Shepherd said.
The fair board thinks the access to the grandstand and free admission to a larger share of young children (6 to 9) will appeal to families.
Treasurer Sheal Dirck provided projections of the financial impact on different ticket prices from $6 to $10. In 2019, the fair admission and grandstand tickets generated $118,032. With the change, including the loss of revenues from children ages 6 to 9, the fair estimates the $8 admission will generate $123,576 — roughly a $5,550 increase over this year.
A $10 dollar admission would have generated about $154,470, based on last year’s attendance. St. Joseph and Elkhart fairs charge $10 and include grandstand events, but Kosciusko County fair officials thought hiking it to $10 would have been too much of an increase.
Dirck said he thinks families will appreciate the simplified price structure. Eliminating grandstand tickets will make it easier for fair staff, too.
“We still need ushers in the grandstand to keep the aisleways clear, but they won’t be trying to keep people out and they don’t have to worry about stamping hands. We’ll just have a bunch of happy people.“
Previously, two adult tickets and grandstand tickets would have cost $30. The same access will now cost $16, Dirck pointed out.
“We’re still the cheapest one in the area with a grandstand,” Dirck said.
The board also expanded its policy to allow first responders — police, fire and EMS — and their spouses, free admission during the fair.
The fair previously provided free admission to active duty military. Monday night’s action expanded that to include spouses of the military.
In all cases, proper identification will be required.
In other matters, Board President Kevin Harris said the fairgrounds saw good attendance at the haunted house and the return of the separate Zombie Hunt down by the lake. About 760 people bought tickets for the chance to shoot zombies with paintball guns.
Overall, attendance was better this year, Harris said.
The fair’s annual membership meeting is Monday, Nov. 18, at the Shrine Building. Membership will look to fill two vacancies on the board and consider changes in its bylaws. Dinner starts at 6:30 p.m. and the meeting will start about an hour later.