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Erie County Fair raises admission prices

The Erie County Fair last increased admission prices a decade ago, and during that time, the minimum wage and the cost of entertainment have risen.

So next year, the cost of a regular adult gate admission ticket to the fair will rise to $12, a $2 increase. Senior citizens will see a $2 increase to $9, and early bird admission and special admission will go up $2 as well.

Children 12 and under will remain free.

"It's not something we take lightly. We look at it every year. How long can we hold off?" said Fair Manager and CEO Jessica Underberg.

There still are discounts: Advance sale tickets will remain the same price, at $7 for adults and $5 for seniors. There will be no change in the $5 fee for parking.

The price increase was announced and approved during the Erie County Agricultural Society's annual membership meeting Wednesday.

Opening Day is Aug. 7, and admission will be free for those who donate two cans of food to benefit the Food Bank of Western New York.

Admission remains free to firefighters and auxiliary members on Firefighters Day, Aug. 9, and for veterans, active military and auxiliary members on Veterans Day, Aug. 11. For a limited time, fairgoers can also purchase a 12-day pass to the fair (one admission each day) for $35.

Underberg said costs have been rising for the fair. Last year, an entertainment act the fair was thinking of booking cost $75,000. This summer the cost of the act had jumped to $300,000.

"Moving forward, these adjustments will greatly help the Erie County Fair better serve fairgoers due to increasing labor costs as well as the rising prices for public safety, emergency services, grounds infrastructure, fair production and entertainment,” she said.

Compared to other leisure activities, the fair is a bargain, supporters say.

"When you come to the fair, it's $12, but it's an all-day experience," Underberg said.

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