6:37 PM EDT, October 11, 2012
Just one year after the deadly stage collapse at the Indiana State Fair, officials are calling this year's fair a success despite a dip in attendance.
Officials announced Thursday that the fair saw more than $500,000 in profit and 854,000 guests. Officials had originally projected revenue to be $601,000. They also projected attendance to reach 875,000.
Officials said the lower attendance was largely due to the weather and many schools switching to a balanced calendar.
Fair officials also announced concerts at Banker's Life Fieldhouse did not work. Concerts were moved to the downtown venue because the Pepsi Coliseum is currently undergoing renovations.
"Our customers want to be (at the fairgrounds),” said Cindy Hoye, Executive Director of the Indiana State Fair Commission. “They didn't understand the whole idea. It didn't work, so we're bringing back, somewhat I’d say, some headline entertainment for free on the free stage.”
The Pepsi Coliseum will still be under construction next year, meaning there likely won't be any big headliners like Sugarland at the fair.
"We're going to do some B-level, named entertainment on the free stage," said Hoye.
The fair commission also said they were going to work harder to get the word out about discounts on admission and rides. Hoye said that lack of publicity could be a factor in an 8 percent decrease in overally satisfaction.
"We need to work harder to explain discounts and more opportunities for people to come out," said Hoye.
When asked how officials planned to attract a new generation of guests, State Fair Commision Chairman Andre Lacy said the fair may work with lawmakers to allow alcohol sales. Currently, the Indiana State Fair is not allowed to serve alcohol during the fair though they do serve alcohol during other events. Lacy said Indiana is one of two or three fairs in the country that doesn't serve alcohol.