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Bangor State Fair Celebrates 160 years
Fiesta Shows provides midway
By Ron Weber
The Bangor State Fair (ME), held July 30 - August 8th, posted an fantastic year in 2009, drawing 69,750 paid guests. This was a 66% increase over 2008,s 42,009 paid numbers. Food and games sales were also up according to Michael Dyer of the fair.
In 2009, the fair instituted a $10 P.O.P. gate which included rides and admission to combat a struggling economy. Parking was $5.
The response to the new P.O.P. gate was "phenomenal", according to fair officials.
To promote the fair and the new admission pricing, the fair spent their $35,000 advertising budget on T.V., radio, and print, with the biggest percentage (45%) spent on television ads.
The fair also used new media in 2009, experimenting with a Facebook page and Twitter. Dyer reported great results from Facebook but said Twitter was a "non-factor".
Fiesta Shows provided the midway with 38 rides. Gene Dean, the show,s owner said the fair board "did a great job with the fair". He said the event was celebrating its 160th anniversary and the new P.O.P. system "worked out well".
Dean said his season began in late May and throughout June and July the show experienced many days of rain.
Fiesta Shows has been busy in the off-season and during the early summer replacing lighting packages on rides and even games with energy-efficient L.E.D. lighting. The Gondola Wheel and many other rides have been completed and Dean says the show will be 90% converted by Columbus Day.
Dean also implemented a strict drug policy in 2009 and says he has seen a great improvement in his workers and their output.
Calling himself the "original 40-miler" Dean said he has never taken the show south though he personally spends many of his winters in Florida. Dean said the show remains busy through October with a growing number of Halloween celebrations in the northeast. These events have extended his season and brought additional revenue to the show.
Dean said he is playing the same route in 2009 as 2008 and his dates remain largely the same from year to year. From Bangor the show traveled to Skowhegan, Maine.
Looking ahead to the off-season, Dean said he had his eye on a large ride or two but would be waiting until the season was over before making any announcements.