Extra Letters: Sonoma County Fair
Pricing families out
EDITOR: Tuesday’s article about declining fair attendance reflects just how out of touch the Sonoma County Fair board really is (“Crowds thinner again at fair”). They can blame sagging attendance on recent mass shootings all they want, but that hardly accounts for the seven-year slide.
Perhaps if they took the time to look at the numbers that they provided, they would understand that they are pricing themselves right out of business. From 2012 to 2019, 67,753 fewer people attended a fair that was six days shorter, yet they spent $312,262 more on carnival rides. That doesn’t even include admission ($7-$15 per person), parking ($9-$15), food, etc.
Sonoma County is changing, and the fair board needs to realize that their bread and butter is likely going to be families and young adults attending the carnival, the same demographics they are steadily pricing out.
EDITOR: Tuesday’s article about the declining attendance at the Sonoma County Fair misleadingly mixed Gravenstein apples with Florida oranges. The article considered only the total attendance each year and ignored the fact that today’s fair runs six fewer days than in 2012.
A better way of comparing the attendance is using the average daily number of people enjoying the fair. Comparing the daily average since 2012, the highest number of attendees at the fair was in 2017 with 12,803 per day. In fact, this year’s average was higher than that in 2012. The fair was a great success this year.
A costly proposition
EDITOR: Did neither the fair board president nor the CEO mention or consider the cost of getting into the fair? And why didn’t your reporter have a paragraph summarizing the $15 (adult) and $7 (child) ticket prices, $9 parking, $30 wrist band for the carnival rides, $6-$10 hot dogs and corn dogs and $5 drinks? As many of your online commenters noted, that’s (conservatively) $160 for a family of four to enjoy a day at the fair.
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