Fair sees increases of 46% in concert sales, 5.7% in gate revenues, 4% in attendance
With final numbers in, it was definitively a good year at the 2018 Alaska State Fair, which took place August 23 – September 3 at the fairgrounds in Palmer.
Concerts, attendance & revenue up
Most notably, ticket sales for our AT&T Concert Series were up 46.3 percent from 2017 and 8.5 percent up from 2016, with a total of 28,515 tickets sold in 2018. Concerts featuring breakthrough country star Luke Combs and acclaimed violinist Lindsey Stirling were sold out, while Goo Goo Dolls and Juice WRLD were near capacity.
Fair attendance was up as well, with attendance of 292,973 in 2018, an increase of 4.2 percent over 2017’s attendance of 281,129. Overall Fair revenue was also up in 2018, highlighted by a 5.7 percent increase in gate revenues compared to 2017.
The Fair saw a notable increase in advance ticket sales, which were 23.3 percent higher than last year. A total of 14,184 fairgoers took advantage of the Fair’s new option to purchase concert tickets combined with Fair admission, contributing significantly to the advance sales increase. The purchase of single admissions online and Three Bears season passes was also up in 2018.
Following the historical trend, the highest-attended days were the first Saturday, with 38,416 fairgoers, and the second Saturday and Sunday, with 44,532 and 45,465 visitors, respectively. In fact, the second weekend was so well-attended that we used our overflow parking on those two days – even the RV lot was full!
More good news
There were several other positive indicators of a strong year at the Fair, including:
- Sold-out shows for the Demolition Derby and all three All-Star Monster Trucks shows at the RAM Truck Grandstand.
- 23 new state records set in crops exhibit entries, including Dale Marshall’s 1,471.5-pound pumpkin. Marshall’s gargantuan gourd also took first-place in the 2018 Midnight Sun Great Pumpkin Weigh-Off. See the full list of new state records and all the results from the pumpkin weigh-off.
- Huge fun at this year’s Giant Cabbage Weigh-Off, with Brian Shunskis coming in first with his 94-pound entry. See full results here.
- New recycling record. Volunteers collected a grand total of 45,703 pounds – or 22.9 tons – of recyclable materials at this year’s Fair, setting a new 10-year record.
- $224,000 raised at the 4-H Junior Market Livestock Auction, up almost $10,000 from last year in a continuing upward trend.
- Strong vendor showing, with a total of 448 full-time vendors, including 70 food vendors, as well as 61 daily vendors and 17 vendors in the Gathering Place.
New things to note
A good Fair is always looking for ways to grow and improve, and there were several new things of note at the 2018 Fair:
- Online parking. This year for the first time, we offered the ability to purchase parking online. A total of 1,913 fairgoers took advantage of this new feature, which allowed them to buy a single day or season parking pass online before they headed out to the fairgrounds.
- Carnival wristbands. We offered carnival wristbands that, for the first time, included Fair admission and unlimited carnival rides for just $50 on Monday and Tuesday, August 27 and 28, when purchased in advance. A total of 925 fairgoers took advantage of the offer.
- $5 admission. To say “thank you” to first responders and members of the military, we were pleased to offer $5 admission on Military Appreciation Day, Sunday, September 2, and First Responders Day, Monday, September 3. A total of 7,149 members of the military and their families and 253 first responders took advantage of the new discount.
- Brew Tap. An estimated 400 fairgoers raised a glass to the future of Alaska’s farmlands at the first-ever Brew Tap. The event, held Friday, August 31, featured local brews and live music. $1 from every beer purchased – for a total of $591 – was donated to the Alaska Farmland Trust, which is dedicated to preserving Alaska’s farmlands for future generations.
- New restrooms. We opened the doors to the new restrooms on the Yellow Trail this year. The new facility was designed to meet the needs of increased fairgoer traffic in this area, which features popular venues including the RAM Truck Grandstand and the Gathering Place.
- Fair Queen.We were excited to bring back an old tradition with the crowning of a Fair Queen. At the August 23 coronation, we announced the members of the 2018 royal court, including Fair Queen Tala Ianu, Princesses Samantha Wannerand Bianca Temple, and Cultural Ambassador and People’s Chose Awardee Hannah Noble.
- New annual meeting date. A special membership meeting was held during the board reception on opening day of the Fair, where Fair members voted to change the annual membership meeting date from the second Thursday in February to the third Wednesday in May.
Mark your calendar
The 2019 Fair will be held August 22 – September 2, and with the theme “Crazy Good,” it is sure to be a good time. Hope to see you there!
50+ reasons to attend this year’s bazaar!
Fall is here and we are busy getting ready for the Alaska State Fair Holiday Bazaar! The 2018 event will take place Saturday, October 20, from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. and Sunday, October 21, from 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. at Raven Hall on the fairgrounds.
We love this special annual event, and we think you will, too. Here are our five favorite things about the holiday bazaar:
1. As always, admission and parking are free!
2. There will be more than 100 vendors with a wide range of items perfect for holiday gift-giving. (More on that below!)
3. You can keep your energy up for all that holiday shopping with espresso and delicious array of food truck options with an eating area inside Raven Hall, Hoskins building will have hot dogs and chili.
4. We’ll have free craft activities to keep the kiddos entertained while you shop.
5. Raffles for the chance to win great prizes donated by participating vendors. We’ll draw a winner every two hours, so there are plenty of opportunities to win!
With more than 100 vendors, you are sure to find the perfect gifts for everyone on your list. Here are 50 gift ideas that you can find at this year’s Holiday Bazaar:
2. Bath and body products
3. Beaded jewelry
4. Birch bark art
8. Christmas ornaments
9. Clothing and shoes
10. Cork crafts
13. Dog treats
15. Essential oils
16. Foods including jerky, popcorn, bananas, brittle, roasted nuts, biscotti, jams, jellies, fudge, cookies and more
18. Hand-dyed yarns
19. Hand-fused glass
20. Hand-made jewelry
22. Knives and swords
23. Leather products
27. Native spirit and skin masks
30. Pampered Chef
32. Pillow cases
33. Pot holders
35. Qiviut products
38. Stained glass
40. Tundra comics
42. Wall hangings
43. Walrus ivory jewelry
44. Wildflower art
45. Wind chimes
46. Wine bottle trays
47. Wood carvings
48. Wood crafts
49. Wooden toys
50. And many more!
Hope to see you at the Holiday Bazaar!
September 7, 2018
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
First look at the 2018 Fair
“Good year” for the Fair, initial numbers show
Palmer, Alaska – Bolstered by lots of sunny days and a strong second weekend, it appears that it was a good year for the Alaska State Fair. The 2018 Fair took place August 23 – September 3 at the fairgrounds in Palmer.
Most notably, ticket sales for the Fair’s AT&T Concert Series were up 46.4 percent, with a total of 28,515 tickets sold in 2018. Concerts featuring breakthrough country star Luke Combs and acclaimed violinist Lindsey Stirling were sold out.
Fair attendance also appears up in most areas. Although final numbers are still being calculated, those confirmed so far indicate a 2.5 percent increase over last year.
There were several other positive indicators of a good year at the Fair, including:
- Sold-out shows for the Demolition Derby and all three All-Star Monster Trucks shows at the Grandstand
- 23 new state records set in crops exhibit entries, including a 26-inch cucumber and a 1,471.5-pound pumpkin; see the full list on the Fair website
- $224,000 raised at the 4-H Junior Market Livestock Auction, up almost $10,000 from last year in a continuing upward trend
A special membership meeting was held during the board reception on opening day of the Fair, where Fair members voted to change the annual membership meeting date from the second Thursday in February to the third Wednesday in May.
Watch the Fair website and social media channels for additional details on the 2018 Fair. For more information, please visit alaskastatefair.org or contact Dean Phipps, Fair director of marketing and communications, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 907.746.7153.