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Midway grosses over $6 million


By Ron Weber

Photo courtesy of San Diego County Fair

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The San Diego County Fair ended its 22-day event with an all-time attendance record of 1,274,442. The previous attendance mark was 1,265,997, set in 2007.The largest one-day attendance during the 2009 Fair was 88,087 on Friday, July 3. It ranked as the eighth-largest day in the Fair,s history. The largest single-day attendance ever was Friday, July 3, 1998, with 101,867.

"We want to thank everyone for coming and hope they had a great start to the summer at the San Diego County Fair," said Tim Fennell, CEO and General Manager of the Del Mar Fairgrounds. "We are pleased to provide our community and families with an opportunity to have fun and play for a day at the Fair during a difficult economy. Because of these challenging times, we were proud to present a venue that provided a great value for our guests. But the Fair is really aPhoto By San Diego County Fairbout people and teamwork, and again we had an excellent team for the 2009 San Diego County Fair."

2009 admission prices were $13 for adults, $7 for ages 6-12 and 62 and over and children under 5 were free. The fair offered numerous discounts and promotions including Kid,s Day on Tuesday where children 12 and under were admitted free, Pepsi Pay-One-Price Days where unlimited rides were offered for $30 and Penny Save Value Day where a coupon book was given with various fair savings.

On the independent ride midway, 85 rides were presented, grossing a whopping $6,013,579. That figure was 1.47% over 2008.

The top ten rides were: Crazy Mouse, SJ Entertainment; Grand Wheel, RCS; Fast Trax, State Fair Amusements; Skyride, RCS; Magnum, Wood Entertainment; Hi Miler, RCS; Hydroslide, RCS; Speed, RCS; Xtreme, Demas Enterprises and the Tango, Bishop Amusements.

One hundred food stands offered every possible delicacy. The food gross for the fair,s run was $11,177,512, 11.67% up over 2008. The biggest day for food sales was Friday, July 3, with $886,000.00 in sales.

The top ten food vendors were Golden West BBQ, Brett's Juicy, Chicken Charlie II, Chuckwagon, Chicken Charlie I, Juicy's Outlaw, Australian Foods, Brander I (Donuts), Fruit Caboose, Avenue location and Capitol Cookery.

Some of the more unusual food items were Zucchini Weenies from Chicken Charlie,s, Deep Fried S,mores, Deep Fried White Castle Cheeseburgers, Deep Fried Frogs Legs and Chocolate Bacon.
The total English and Spanish language marketing budget, including production, was in the neighborhood of $500,000, according to Linda Zweig,Information Officer/Media for the fair.

"We use radio, television, print, online, outdoor, mobile media, social marketing, and a variety of internal vehicles, including electronic billboards, e-blasts, directed e-mails, banners on our property, flyers distributed to our event customers and videos produced in house and played on our video boards" she said when asked about the media mix for the fair. The fair also has a dedicated Hispanic marketing effort, using many of the same delivery vehicles, only with a Spanish-language message.

Zweig said the marketing mix has changed considerably even over the last several months as the fair meets the challenge to keep up with new media options. "With the advent of Smart phones our marketing is only limited by our imagination. Quite honestly, this is the direction marketing is going....fewer traditional media options, more technology based new options" she added.

Total visits to the Fair website numbered more than 500,000 from June 1 through July 4, including over 2.1 million page views. The fair is considering increasing their online marketing budget in the coming year.

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