Tragedy could have far-reaching economic impact for Indiana State Fair
The business of the Indiana State Fair must go on despite Saturday's tragedy. There are only five days left before the 2011 State Fair wraps up.
Lost revenue and lagging attendance can in no way compare to the loss of life and injuries from Saturday's stage rigging collapse. However, the impact of this tragedy is going to have far reaching effects on the State Fair and people who earn their livings there.
Fair officials have stopped releasing daily attendance figures and will not discuss the likely loss of revenue. A spokesman says they are focusing on finishing the fair and finding answers to what happed there. But based on last year's annual report it's possible revenue could easily fall by $1 million or more.
The fair counts on 900,000 visitors to meet its $12 million budget. Closing the fair Sunday resulted in the loss of roughly 50,000 visitors.
Entertainment accounts for about 30 percent of the fair's income. Three concerts have been canceled. Another one has been moved to different venue. The cheerleading competition, another big draw, has been moved to the Indiana Convention Center.
That's going to hurt attendance and reduce income for food concessions and other sales.
The Colglaziers have a family business. They count on this as being one of the best fairs they work all year. They are heartbroken over the loss of lives, but they are also concerned about their livelihood.
"I've been here only three years. There are other people who have been her longer, but it is the worst Monday I've ever had here," said business owner Joe Colglazier. "Janet Jackson, Lady Antebellum canceled. I am sure that is going to effect us because we are next to the grandstands. But what are you going to do? We are going to do the best we can and hope people still come out."
The Train and Maroon 5 concert is being held at Conseco Fieldhouse. The bands, the fair and Conseco are donating 100 percent of the proceeds to the State Fair Remembrance Fund established to assist the families of the 5 people who died here as well as those who were injured.