By Tim Leeds 

Great Northern Fair Board considers online tickets


Great Northern Fair-goers may have a new way to buy tickets for the night shows next summer, with the Hill County Fair Board looking into online ticket sales.

Fairgrounds manager Tim Solomon said during the monthly board meeting that when he and board members attended a convention last month, looking into attractions and ideas for next summer's fair, they talked to representatives of a company that sets up programs for online sales of tickets.

Board member Missy Boucher said that, along with the convenience of early online purchasing, it also eliminates the cost of printing tickets. She said the board had been considering passing that cost on to the sponsors of the night show.

"That had been getting out of hand for us for your events, " she said to the event organizers.

With the system the board members saw at the convention, the cost of printing the tickets is built into the ticket price.

"That's how they make their money, and it's built into the cost of the tickets, so there's no cost to any of us for this system, " Solomon said.

He said people could go online and buy whatever tickets they wanted for the shows at the fair, set for July 18-22.

Using the service would either increase ticket prices or reduce the profits for event organizers to pay the per-ticket fee.

Boucher said the purchaser either could print the tickets on their own printer or go to the fair office before or during the fair, give their confirmation number or name and have the fair personnel print their tickets for them.

The program also would allow people to go and buy their tickets at the fair office.

Bill Mangold, who puts together the local amateur and professional truck pulls at the fair, said he thinks having one online site with all of the events listed would be better.

"It's way more uniform, because the ticketing is confusing to some people with the three different prices, " he said.

The online tickets would be available from whatever start time the event organizers and fair board choose, with tickets at the office available a few weeks before the fair begins.

Boucher said that tickets could be set to the event, with a different logo or pattern for the rodeo, the truck pulls and the Jaycees Demolition Derby and the date, time and prices listed on the ticket.

She said the tickets printed have a logo that is viewed under a special light to make certain they are authentic and prevent forgeries.

Boucher said no discussion has been held, as of yet, to talk to the carnival about selling advance tickets to that attraction online, but the board representatives could do that.

Solomon said having all of the tickets available through the service is a good idea.

The representatives of the groups that organize the night shows agreed to go to their respective groups and discuss using the service, while the fair board representatives will get back in touch with the company's representatives to get more details about the costs and process of using the service.

The group representatives also agreed to discuss with their groups about age requirements on tickets. Fair board Chair Tom Farnham asked event representatives if they would be willing to use the same age cutoffs for their events.

Solomon said that there has been some confusion with events having different cutoffs for ages over the years and even in the same year, with some charging all people the same price regardless of age, others giving discounted prices at one age with another giving discounts at another age.


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