State Fair makes money from more than just tickets

The Minnesota State Fair makes its money not only from ticket sales, but also from a portion of the profits from vendors, rides and other attractions.

Food vendors do not pay to have a booth at the fair, but they do pay the State Fair 15 percent of all their sales.

At rides, like the Giant Slide, the State Fair takes an even bigger percentage of each sale, anywhere from 15 to 30 percent. The fair takes 30 percent at the Giant Slide and Skyride and 25 percent at Ye Old Mill.

The vendors not selling products pay by space, not by sales.

State Fair General Manager Jerry Hammer said ticket sales and vendor sales are the biggest sources of revenue. The fair took in $49.1 million last year, with $43.6 million in expenses.

Despite that estimated $5 million gain, the State Fair claims they pretty much break even when you factor in all the long term projects and other investments.

“Expenses are all over the map,” Hammer said. “It takes over 3,000 staff members at the fair itself so payroll is always a big thing.”

Hammer said last year, the leftover money was spent on the new West End development.