BEER BLUNDER: State Fair Visit Concerns Vendors

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The President’s Monday night visit to the Iowa State Fair ruffled a few feathers.

With great weather and concert-goers flocking to the fair, Mike Cunningham expected a big night at the bud tent. But just as the big night was about to begin, he was told they would need to shut down for a visit from the President.

“It was a difficult pill to swallow during the fair during what ends up being my dinner rush and my preconcert rush,” said Mike Cunningham, owner of the Bud Tent at the fair,

Without the rush last night, Cunningham said he was out about $25,000.

“You never get to see the president or get to meet the president in your life time so we got a chance to do that,” said Cunningham, “But the smaller business owner side of was a little frustrated in the fact that I have 11 days to really try to make money here at the fair and when one of those nights are taken from me it’s always tough to recover from that.”

Other fair vendors agree, saying that any closure during their busiest 11 days of the year would be costly.

“That would definitely ruin the day. Obviously we have busy hours during lunch and dinner but we still need a full 18 hour day or however long we`re open depending on the day and if we don`t have it then that will definitely ruin it,” said Bryan Idso, whose family owns “Bettie’s Foot longs”.

Some vendors, however, said it would be well worth the price.

“If President Obama comes down here I’d be glad to close down and shake his hand,” said Jack Benoit, owner of Diamond Jack’s, “You’re not going to lose that much. First of all you are going to draw all kinds of people outside watching and when he leaves, you’ll be able to reap the profit of people coming in. I don’t think you would lose that much.”

Cunningham says he's still going through receipts and that the $25,000 loss is just an estimate at this point, based on previous years.