FAIRFIELD — Ticket prices will rise and hours shorten next year as the Solano County Fair continues its longstanding quest to put its budget in the black.
The county Board of Supervisors on Tuesday approved a 2013 Solano County Fair Association budget with expenses topping $3 million. Revenues are projected to be more than $2.97 million, leaving a deficit of about $70,000 to be covered by association savings.
By comparison, the deficit in 2012 topped $300,000.
With the loss of $540,000 in state funding in 2012, the fair’s strategy has included aggressively reducing expenses and seeking new revenues, a county report said. The 2013 budget reflects this strategy.
General admission ticket prices for the 2013 fair at the Vallejo fairgrounds will rise $2, from $8 to $10. That should generate an estimated $47,000 in additional money, the report said. By comparison, the Dixon May Fair admission is $13, the Napa County Fair and the Sonoma County Fair admissions are $10 and the Sonoma-Marin Fair admission is $15.
“It’s a very modest increase and we’ve held prices for 10 years,” Fair Association General Manager Mike Paluszak said after the meeting.
In addition, the parking fee during the fair will rise from $8 to $10. Fairground parking fees for other events during the year will rise from $7 to $10, according to the county report.
Gone will be the fair hours of 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. every day. Instead, weekday hours will be from 3 to 11 p.m. and weekend hours from noon to 11 p.m. Weekday morning hours and early afternoon hours had low attendance compared to operating costs, creating 12-hour days that necessitated using two shifts or paying overtime to 100 seasonal employees, according to the county report.
Fair officials have described the 2012 fair as a success. Attendance increased 4.9 percent from the previous year and 22.4 percent over two years. Revenues increased more than 6 percent.
The 2013 budget assumes that next year’s fair attendance will increase by 2.5 percent. The fair will run from July 31 to Aug. 4 and will have the theme “Home Grown Fun.”
Advertising revenues from the electronic sign along Interstate 80 should increase by $50,000, or by 40 percent, the 2013 budget said. Golf course revenues should increase by $15,000 or 8.4 percent with proposed increased green fees, it also stated.
The fair association has more than $800,000 in savings.
Reach Barry Eberling at 427-6929 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/beberlingdr.