2012 Georgia National Fair second highest in revenue, attendance

awoolen@macon.comNovember 14, 2012 

PERRY -- Revenue for the 2012 Georgia National Fair was up 2.2 percent, or $98,250, over last year, making it the second best fair in overall financial results, the comptroller for the Georgia National Fairgrounds and Agricenter said Wednesday.

During the November meeting of the Georgia Agricultural Exposition Authority, Ron Goldsby, chief administrative officer and comptroller for the fairgrounds, announced the fair grossed nearly $4.7 million, with an estimated net contribution of about $1.8 million after expenses.

The ride vendor, Reithoffer Shows, set an overall record in midway ride revenue of almost $3 million, of which the fairgrounds received a record of almost $1.3 million. This was a 10.5 percent increase from 2011.

“This was the highest gross he’s ever had here or anywhere he’s been,” Goldsby said of Reithoffer.

Gross attendance at the fair, held Oct. 4-14, was 445,395, an increase of 5,464 from 2011. Paid attendance was 257,711. This was the second-highest attended fair. The largest fair was in 2010 with an attendance of 465,053.

Also making records were the concessionaire fees with $586,050, an increase of $38,150; net sponsorships were up by $85,560; and the Agri-Lift was up by $5,100 from 2011.

Concert sales were down $219,620 from last year. Only 36 percent of the seats were sold for Kellie Pickler on Oct. 6 and just 13 percent were sold for Hot Chelle Rae the following weekend.

“Sold out concerts make a difference,” Goldsby said of both attendance numbers and of the amount of revenue the fair generates.

Bob Irwin, chief operating officer, and Michele Treptow, director of communications, will attend the International Association of Fairs and Expositions in Las Vegas later this month to learn of more entertainment options available.

One of the main objectives is to find replacements for the nine slots of free entertainment.

“We continue to offer a value unequalled in the state,” said executive director Randy Moore.

The 24th annual Georgia National Fair will be held Oct. 3-13, 2013.

The National Barrel Horse Association World Championships were held the two weeks after the fair and had 22,068 visitors from 37 states and four countries during its eight-day run at the fairgrounds.

On just the bags of shavings that were put into the horse stalls prior to the show, the fairgrounds made more than $11,000, said Jim Floyd, agriculture and youth director.

The board also approved a $25,000 donation to the 4-H and FFA Stock Show as well as $20,000 to be used for scholarship funding for agricultural students.

To contact writer Angela Woolen, call 923-5650.

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