SWITCH BACK: Fair Won’t Use ‘Cashless’ System

After a major outcry from fairgoers, the Iowa State Fair now says it will not implement a cashless payment system at the 2014 fair.

We brought you the story first on Tuesday, after learning state fair organizers planned to make changes. The new system would have required patrons to purchase tickets in increments of 50 cents to be redeemed for food, beverages and attractions.

“We`re happy that the customers of the state fair, which are our customers as well for the craft beer tent, seem to be happy about that decision,” says Fair Vendor Scott Carlson.

Carlson runs Tap This Concession, a 48-tap craft and micro beer tent dedicated to Iowa made beers.

He says they already do a ticket system so either way was fine with him.

“We do tickets at the Iowa State Fair for our beer too so we understand that system, but obviously there was an uproar about cash to tickets and we were happy the fair made a decision to make the customers happy in the end,” says Carlson.

However, not everyone agrees.

“My thoughts that it would probably make our day easier,” says Fair Vendor Joni Bell.

Bell is in her 4th year of running The Rib Shack.

She was looking forward to a ticket system, saying it eliminates the need to have correct change.
“Of course on your busiest time you’re out of ones, someone`s got to go to the bank.  It`s just a short jaunt across the park but it`s still losing that one person running a window for you,” says Bell.

But Governor Terry Branstad says he thinks the board made the right decision.

“I think they listened to their constituents the people that go to the state fair.  There were people that didn`t like this, they want to be able to have the opportunity to use cash to pay for things at the fair and not stand in two lines, so I think they made a good decision,” says Gov. Branstad.

Even though the fair will back to cash, it appears the board is keeping their options open in a statement they said, “They will continue to investigate future implementation of a more progressive system that will eliminate fairgoers` concerns of the inconvenience of paper tickets and long lines, improve the concessionaires` reporting system and ccommodate the fair`s infrastructure.”

More than a thousand comments were posted about the initial change on our Facebook page, most of them negative.