2016 Fair a Financial Success

Revenues outweigh costs for Northwest Montana Fair, held over Aug. 17-21

By Molly Priddy

After a week of blue ribbons, rodeos, funnel cakes, and carnival rides, it’s official: the 2016 Northwest Montana Fair, which ran from Aug. 17-21, was a rousing financial success, bringing in more money than what was budgeted.

“It was a really outstanding fair,” Flathead County fairgrounds Manager Mark Campbell said. “This fair was great all the way through and through.”

Campbell presented the results of some of the fair’s financial measurements to the Flathead County Commission on Aug. 24, noting that the budget for this year’s fair was $97,500, and the events brought in a total of $113,000. The profit will be put into reserves.

The real powerhouses this year were the grandstand events, the Trace Adkins concert in particular. More than 3,400 people bought tickets averaging $39 each, bringing in a total of $135,079. The concert cost roughly $96,000, meaning the fairgrounds netted $39,000 from the concert after expenses, which is an increase of $57,000 over last year’s ticket sales.

Grandstand ticket sales skyrocketed by 45 percent, with the concerts and rodeos both gaining attendance this year. The demolition derby attendance stayed relatively static.

Entrance gate revenues shot up by 12.6 percent, with the final attendance count expected early next week, Campbell said. Parking revenues increased by 17 percent, and the parking lot was filled to capacity at some point each day the fair opened, except Sunday.

Food and beverage sales were up by 12 percent with reports still filtering in as of last week, Campbell said. Carnival sales and the Fair portion of the revenue were up 20 percent, and 1,042 people entered 7,750 exhibits.

Campbell also reported that the market livestock sale had an overall increase of sales, though the price per pound was down from last year. However, all of the animals, usually entered in the fair by 4-H and FFA participants, received greater-than-market prices from the bidders.

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