Inflation impacts ticket prices at Brown County Fair

Inflation has impacted the price of gas, groceries and now, county fairs.
Published: Aug. 16, 2022 at 2:48 PM CDT
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ABERDEEN, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - Inflation has impacted the price of gas, groceries and now, county fairs.

The Brown County Fair began Monday. While fair officials are proud that they offer a “free” fair, they did have to raise the prices of some tickets to keep up with the economy.

The carnival rides opened at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, and the prices of single-day wristbands went up by $5 compared to last year to cost $35 during fair week. This was due to inflating costs of supplies and a shortage of carnival employees.

”So this year, carnival prices went up based on talking to our carnival vendor. He’s having a tough time getting folks to work with him, prizes. The cost of those are going up, so we had a conversation with him and he just raised those based on what he needed to make things pencil out,” said fair manager Rachel Kippley.

Individual tickets to the grandstand concert events also went up by $5 compared to last year to cost $50 during fair week this year, but tickets to the Dacotah Bank Stampede Rodeo stayed at $15 for adults and $10 for children.

Tickets to concerts and the carnival rides were cheaper if bought before the fair started on August 15th. For example, a four-day grandstand package to attend all four concerts cost $100 before August 15th, but went up to $120 during fair week. In 2021, the increase was only $5.

Kippley says the Brown County Fair still offers plenty of free entertainment events.

”We’ve got three free tents. Ken’s, Kessler’s and NVC for entertainment. We’ve also got the Avera Kid’s Zone. A lot of it is new, but we do have some favorite returners. We’ve got the magician. We’ve got the hypnotist,” said Kippley.

To give fair attendees a deal on some of the staple fair foods, the fair board launched $2 Tuesday this year. From 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on August 16th, select vendors sold a small sample of their food for a lower price.

”For two bucks, they can go around to the different food vendors and try out some of their fair favorites and they’ll know what they want to get the rest of the week,” said Kippley.

While some prices have gone up, Kippley says the Brown County Fair is still one of the cheapest fairs around.

“It’s still such a great value compared to what you’re seeing around. We have the free parking, free admission, all the free entertainment out here, a lot of great food opportunities too from sponsors. So, we’re still the best value around, even though there was a little bit of an increase in some of the prices, whether it be carnival or concerts,” said Kippley.

Keeping the Brown County Fair free to enter in today’s economy was a priority to the fair board.

“We think that’s just really important, because it’s easy to spend a lot of money when you’re a family. You’ve got school starting, you’ve got all these sports starting. It’s easy to break the bank, but you can come to the Brown County Fair on a budget and you can stick with it and you can have a great time and your kids will too,” said Kippley.

Any positive net profit made by the Brown County Fair this year will go into a county fund to help make improvements to the fairgrounds.

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