Angela Brandt Havre Daily News email@example.com
The Great Northern Fair manager said this year’s night-time event ticket sales did not fare well against the events’ high price tags. Tim Solomon said the rodeo and night show this year brought dismal ticket sales and complaints from the audience. The two nights of rodeo garnered $9,835 in ticket sales and cost a total of $31,052. “We need to look for ideas and do something drastic,” he said. The Great Northern Fair board agreed to research options and possibly stray away from the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association and high-priced music acts. Board members said they heard complaints of the short-duration of the rodeos and disappointment in the announcer, who they said mispronounced the names of several Hi- Line communities. The night show featuring The Pirates of Mississippi and Comstock Lode had a price tag of $11,533 and earned $1,856 in ticket sales. “I like a night show. A lot of people ask for a night show, but do they show? No,” board member Tom Farnham said. Suggestions for different entertainment included an open or ranch rodeo, talent show and a tractor pull. Local competitors would draw their friends and family and the payouts could be large, board members said. “We could think of oddball events and get local businessmen in there,” Solomon said of a ranch rodeo with competitions like wild cow milking.
Another idea pondered by the board was to have an act perform on the free stage on Thursday night instead of the grandstand to save on security and other staff payments but still draw people to the carnival rides and food booths. Solomon said the fair, as a whole, had a great year. The kids’ rodeo was a success with $975 in tickets sales, up $174 from last year. The Havre Jaycees Demolition Derby brought in $20,030 in reserved and general admission tickets. The consensus of the board was even with the scorching tempertures during fair week, bumping up the time of the fair from August to the third week of July was a good decision and the dates will remain the same for next and coming years. Board chair Steve Faber said the 4-H sales did not meet last year’s record sales but fared well and the time change did not have a detrimental impact on the raising of the animals. Solomon said the sales at the food booths were close to or higher than last year’s tally per vender. The highest grossing booths were the Havre Lions Club with $6,606 in sales of pronto pups and other delicacies and Montana State University- Northern with a total of $2,897 worth of vikings and scones. Havre Youth Baseball brought in $4,056 from the beer garden. The time change allowed for the return of Royal West Amusements Inc., who had left the fair about 14 years ago when its days conflicted with those of larger fairs in the state. The payoff from the midway was $5,000 more than last year’s. Solomon said he heard nothing but good comments about the midway this year including it was clean and run by polite ride operators. A three-year contract has been signed with the company. An offshoot of Royal West, Missoula-based marketing and event production company FunNBiz.com, also was hired this year. Solomon said the firm brought many new ideas to the table and the partnership was beneficial. Board members agreed and said they are interested in signing a similar contract with the company for the 2007 fair.