Marion County Fair increasing security, cutting costs due to inflation

Fair Grounds Set Up 2022
Posted at 9:43 AM, Jun 20, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-20 10:09:18-04

INDIANAPOLIS — At the Marion County Fairgrounds, the county fair queens are practicing for the pageant, the rides are being built and security plans are being put into place.

But fair officials say this year's event will be a little different.

"We've got increased security, we've got increased off duty officers from local law enforcement helping us out too,” said Jeremiah Tevebaugh, executive director of the Marion County Fair Grounds. “We don't want the experience for the families to change at all. "

In 2020, a shooting in the parking lot outside of the fair caused fair board members to create security checkpoints before people enter the grounds. However, this caused a bit of a backup when it came to the ticket line,

Fair officials say they have a solution for this.

"They can just sell you a ticket off a pouch and then when you go to the end of the line they can it right in,” said Tevebaugh. “We also have QR codes that will be posted all over the parking lots and you can scan the QR code (and) buy your ticket right there. So when you walk up, you can just bypass everything, go through security (and) they scan your ticket and you are right in the park."

That's not the only thing the fair is preparing for. Inflation and gas prices have caused them to find ways to cut costs.

One way they are doing that is by bringing in generators and changing the shower heads used by people that stay on the grounds. These changes will help offset some of the utility costs the fair is paying, according to officials.

"Who knows what is going to happen with fuel prices and energy and the economy. So we are looking at ways that we can cut costs all across the board, no matter what, as a permanent solution," said Tevebaugh

However, vendors are also being affected by inflation and gas prices — especially because they drive from fair to fair throughout the country.

One vendor said that they had to increase their food prices last year but don't plan to do so again just yet, even if the prices of the supplies they need are hard to predict.

"You'll go one time and you're excited because actually, the price has gone down a little bit and I am not sure why. And then the next time it is right back up so every day you go it's a mystery, " said Kristina Rieder a food stand owner.

Officials don't plan to raise admission either. They hope people's experiences will remain the same regardless of the changes they might see.

"We want people to come back and enjoy themselves and have a good time and we will have to see in the future what that leads to," said Tevebaugh.

The Marion County fair opens on Friday and has a $5 admission fee.