Updated: Thursday, 11 Oct 2012, 8:30 PM EDT
Published : Thursday, 11 Oct 2012, 7:38 AM EDT
INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) - The 2012 Indiana State Fair made half a million dollars, but visitors weren't as happy as in previous years.
According to research done during the fair, the overall visitor satisfaction rating dropped 8 percent compared to last year.
Fair officials say the drop was due to the reinstated parking fee. Fair goers didn’t like paying it. Parking fees brought in close to $1.1 million this year.
Without that, the 2012 Fair would have lost money.
Fair officials feel confident they can boost visitor satisfaction next year and keep the parking fee.
“We need to work harder to explain discounts and opportunities where there is more value for people to come,” said Fair Commission Executive Director Cindy Hoye.
The biggest change Hoosiers will notice at next years fair will be the lack of any concerts by "A" list performers.
The decision to hold this years concerts at Banker’s Life Fieldhouse flopped and proved costly.
The concerts will return to the Pepsi Coliseum once renovations are completed in 2014. Until then, “We are going to do some "B" level named entertainment on the free stage that works. Our customers want to be here,” said Hoye.
Research at this year’s fair also found fair visitors appear to be getting older. The average age of attendees 18 years or older was 47.3. To keep that crowd coming and to attract a younger crowd, fair officials would like to offer beer and wine at the State Fair.
For now, they are not allowed.
“Currently we have a law in Indiana that alcohol cannot be served at the fair. We actually serve alcohol all of the other days throughout the year here,” said State Fair Commission Chairman Andre Lacy.
He would like to see a beer and wine garden at the fair that highlights Indiana micro breweries and vineyards. Lacy says it is something State lawmakers will have to take up and decide.