State Fair - Business Matters - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

State Fair - Business Matters

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It was 12 days of fun, music, games and food. A ton of good times, but at the end of the day it is still a business and from roasted corn to roller coasters State Fair Commission officials believe they have a good product.

"It is something they know they're going to get quality and quantity at the right prices," said Billy Orr, Executive Director of the State Fair Commission.

And people keep coming back, even after the fair endured setbacks.  On the third of the 2013 fair a child was seriously injured after falling almost 30 feet from iconic Skyride.  

According to Orr's numbers the fall did not severely impact attendance and by the time the event wrapped-up, a record 706,848 attended. The final day, Sunday, October 13 was single-day record of 121,014.

"Which it was very successful," Orr said. "The weatherman cooperated and things went real well."

Record attendance means record revenue and the fair commission is still counting the cash. There are no official figures yet, but if you multiply the $5 admission and parking charge by 707,000 you end up with $3.5 million.

That figure does not include revenue from vendors, and while it may sound like a lot Orr says they have to make that money last.

"Our annual budget is around $4.5 million for the operation of the fairground," Orr said. "That's year round operation.  All this goes to paying salaries, maintenance on streets, utilities."

Despite being a state agency no tax dollars finds its way into the fair commission accounts.

"Legislature does not appropriate any operating funds for the fairgrounds," Orr said.

On the otherhand lawmakers allow the fair commission to keep all the money they make to operate. In addition to keeping the lights on, State Fair revenue helps them host other events such as the Dixie National Rodeo and Mistletoe Marketplace, which is November 6-9

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