The Iowa State Fair is making changes to the way fairgoers pay for food, beverages, and attractions in 2014.
A cashless system is being implemented. Fair patrons will need to buy tickets that can then be redeemed for purchases at the fair.
The tickets will be sold in 50-cent increments at more than 150 booths throughout the fairgrounds. The tickets don't expire so if you don't use them all this year you can save them for next year.
Fair officials say they've been considering the change for years.
They say it will reduce robbery of fairgoers and employee theft and create a universal payment method across the fairgrounds.
"At the Bud tent, craft beer tent you’re already making that exchange for a ticket, now it will be uniform throughout the fairground,” says spokesperson Lori Chappell. “Yes it’s a change and change can be hard, we understand that, but we hope it’s a good change for everybody involved."
In a letter sent to partners of the Iowa State Fair, Concessions and Commercial Exhibits Director Mike Nye says other fairs using cashless systems have seen cash-savings and increased convenience. Those fairs, including the state fairs of Texas and Colorado, saw an increase in spending once fairgoers started buying tickets
Vendors are being urged to keep the prices they charged in 2013 and consider offering “value” items.
The change comes at no additional cost for vendors. The fair says it will pay all credit card processing fees.