HURON, S.D. (KELO) — The cost of going to the South Dakota State Fair this summer might be going up. And if you want to say something about it, you can do so through an email or letter, or by showing up at a public hearing that’s planned for next week at the fairgrounds.
The proposal from the state Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources calls for raising daily entrance prices for people age 16 and older to $10 apiece from the current $6. Getting in would also cost more for children ages 6 to 15. Their daily fee would rise to $5 from $4.
Admission for kids younger than 6 would remain free.
Prices for week-long passes would climb, too, to $40 for those 16 and older, and to $20 for the younger set. Those currently are $25 and $15.
Prices would also increase for prepaid value packs. A set of four week-long passes for people 16 and older would cost $130, up from $80. The prepaid daily price for two people 16 and older and four of the younger group would go to $35, up from $20.
None of those amounts reflect special promotional prices offered during the annual fair. The state Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources oversees it with fair manager Peggy Besch and her staff working to attract events to the grounds year-round.
Department Secretary Hunter Roberts estimates that the changes will generate $196,690 if they take effect this year and $286,690 annually after that.
People wishing to send comments should address them to South Dakota Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources, 523 East Capitol, Pierre, South Dakota 57501-1234. Emails can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. Written comments must be received by April 29, 2022, to be considered.
A public hearing will be held at 9 a.m. CT on Tuesday, April 19, at the fairgrounds in Huron, at Nordby Exhibit Hall, 1060 3rd Street SW.
COVID-19 cut gate attendance at the 2020 fair nearly in half to 107,992. It bounced back quite a ways to 181,459 for the 2021 fair that ran September 2 through September 6.
Camping prices would remain the same, but the proposed higher admission fees would be reflected in higher prices overall for camping packages. They currently range from $185 to $320 for seven days. The proposed prices would range from $235 to $370.
The full proposal is here.
State Fair attendance
2017 — 211,843
2018 — 217,231
2019 — 205,172
2020 — 107,992 (COVID-19)
2021 — 181,459