Visitors make NC State Fair profitable
Posted October 16, 2013
Updated October 17, 2013
In just 11 days a year, the North Carolina State Fair turns a profit that supports the state fairgrounds property year-round. Not a single penny from taxpayers goes to the fairgrounds, unless you count the dollars spent voluntarily on admission and ride tickets.
The 2012 State Fair brought in about $11.5 million, according to spokesman Brian Long. That revenue accounts for about 75 percent of all revenue brought in for the entire year at the fairgrounds. Events at the horse complex, flea markets and car shows comprise the remainder of revenue.
Most of the fairgrounds revenue comes from admission tickets, which this year cost $9 at the gate for adults and $4 for children. Last year, revenue from ticket sales was $6.75 million. Rent paid by the carnival company is another main source of income for the fair. That payment in 2012 totaled $2 million.
The fairgrounds closed the books last year with a $1.5 million net profit.
Long said the fairgrounds invests any profits in renovating buildings and improving the grounds. The fairgrounds operates as an enterprise fund, meaning it is receipt-supported and does not rely on appropriations from the state.
Due to the immense success of the State Fair in recent years, the fairgrounds has been profitable every year since 1970, Long said. Last year, 965,297 people paid that price of admission over the course of the State Fair.
If a severe drop in revenue at the state fair was to arise, such as bad weather, fair staff would cut expenses to accommodate the loss, he said.