Indiana State Fair turns profit in 2012


The 2012 Indiana State Fair was a financial success, the fair board reported Thursday.

The Indiana State Fair is trying to boost attendance and raise revenue at the same time. It's also looking to rebound from the financial hit it took after the 2011 stage collapse.

Some fair board members were actually smiling at Thursday's news. The state fair turned a half-million-dollar profit in 2012.

Fair attendance was lower than expected in 2012, and attendance at the concerts, which were moved from the grandstands to downtown Bankers Life Fieldhouse, were also less than expected. But higher admission prices, new infield parking fees and lower payroll costs added up to a profit.

"We did a whale of a job operating the fair this year," said fair board president Andre Lacy. "With the entrepreneurial DMA, we also tried some other things that worked exceedingly well, like the free stage on the north side. Those kinds of successes will influence what we do next year and also we aren't gonna do any more of that other stuff that wasn't so successful."

While the fairgrounds themselves are running under budget, investigation costs into the 2011 disaster are $400,000 over budget. We'll have more on that at 5:00 pm. This story will be updated.

The 2011 fair drew about 872,000 visitors, down 8 percent from 2010. The attendance drop helped cut the fair's overall 2011 revenue to $8.4 million, down from nearly $12 million the year before.