Despite record hot and record cold weather, during the week, Montana Fair pulled in numbers that hovered in the record range and actually broke some daily records, reported MetraPark manager, Bill Dutcher.
Dutcher expressed sheer enthusiasm for the outcome of what is the biggest event in the state, which drew 291,085 attendees. The nine days of the fair unfolded without any significant incidents making it one of the safest and smoothest operated fairs in the country, said Dutcher, who added, “You have the friendliest fair.”
Montana Fair pulled in $1.9 million, according to Kelly Campbell, comptroller for MetraPark, and when all the numbers are tallied, including those for sources such as sponsors, she expects to see a final total closer to $2.2 million.
The night show and concerts did very well, with ticket sales with income of $684,507 and the gates totaled $388,769. The really good news was 2-day records for both concessions and the carnival, said Campbell. Concessions pulled in $443,251 and the carnival $904,051.
They sold 3900 value passes, a rebound from last year’s sales, which dropped 50 percent, which they believe to be a consequence of the impact of Garth Brooks concerts which pulled a lot out of the entertainment economy. They had to shut off sales of value passes, this year, because of seating issues, said Campbell. Value pass sales totaled $219,961.
The one –inch of rain fall on the last day of the fair had its impact. It is usually the biggest revenue day, said Ray Massie, Director of Marketing, and the rain probably diminished the total revenue for the day by as much as 10 percent, or between $30,000 to $40,000. Had it not been for 100-plus degree days and rain, Massie said that they are so near to the record year (2016) total, that there is no doubt they would have had a record breaking year.
The concerts were up 70 percent this year for a combination of reasons, according to Massie, one of which was the willingness of the County Commissioners to spend the money it takes to bring in top performers.
How well the numbers come out, in the end, will depend somewhat on how well MetraPark staff did in trying to control costs, emphasized Massie. As the costs continue to come in, how well they did in that regard is still unknown.