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Fair will charge more at the gate
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Stanislaus County Fair attendees might get a surprise this summer when they reach for their wallets at the gate. Tickets prices have gone up for adults who purchase tickets at the gate during the fair.

The 38th District Agricultural Association (Stanislaus County Fair) Board of Directors unanimously voted last week to increase gate prices from $10 to $12.

"The cost of doing business has gone up. Everything we do business with has gone up," said Anthony Leo, interim fair CEO.

The decision to raise gate prices was discussed at a previous board meeting in November. At that time the board agreed to send their budget to the state with a $1 increase in gate fees. They postponed the actual fee increase vote until Dec. 14 in order to further investigate gate ticket revenues and the possibility of a $2 increase.

In addition to an increase in the cost of doing business, fair board members cited worries about state budget problems for the increase in fees. The Stanislaus County Fair receives about $110,000 a year from the state. Leo said that the fair does not receive funding until the state budget is passed in July, and there is no guarantee of funding this year. With earlier fair dates in 2010, word of funding might not come until well after the fair is over.

"There's almost a panic in Sacramento right now," said Board member Ray Souza.

The Stanislaus County Fair has charged a $10 adult gate fee since 2008. Prior to 2008, gate admission costs were $8 for adults. Children's admission prices will remain at $3 for children over 5 years old, and children under five get free admission to the fair.

Also at Monday's meeting, board members said good-bye and good luck to Pennie Rorex, communications director and spokesperson for the Stanislaus County Fair. Rorex has accepted a position at Emanuel Medical Center as associate vice president of Corporate Communication and Marketing. This is Rorex's last week at the fair, and the board has already interviewed for a part-time replacement.

"Pennie has left a great trail behind for somebody to follow," Leo said.

For now the Communication Director position will be filled with a seasonal, part-time employee. Leo said that the next CEO will have to decide if the position should be filled on a full-time basis.