Iowa State Fair Cancels Plan to Require Food Tickets

Patrons pass down Grand Avenue on Thursday, Aug. 8, 2013 at the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines, Iowa. (Charlie Litchfield/The Des Moines Register)


By Aaron Hepker

DES MOINES, Iowa - The Iowa State Fair Board said Thursday that it will not require fairgoers and vendors to use a new cashless ticket system to buy food, drinks and attractions after all.

The plan to use tickets was detailed to vendors earlier this week in a letter. The cashless system was going to be used to address concerns over robberies and thefts.

Fair officials said Thursday that Fair Board decided not to implement a mandatory cashless payment system at the 2014 Fair.

Officials said they plan "to investigate future implementation of a more progressive system that will eliminate Fairgoers' concerns of the inconvenience of paper tickets and long lines, improve the concessionaires' reporting system and accommodate the Fair's infrastructure."

The move comes after feedback from concerned Iowans about the system. Hundreds took to Facebook to comment on the plan to add the tickets, many opposed to the system.

"Passionate Fairgoers help make the Iowa State Fair the best in the nation, and the Fair Board strives to implement policies that improve the Fair's financial integrity while simultaneously benefiting its loyal fans," said a statement released by the State Fair Thursday.

Gov. Terry Branstad said he applauds the Fair Board's decision.

"I'm pleased the Iowa State Fair Board has listened to fairgoers' concerns and decided to maintain its cash payment system," said Branstad in a statement. "When making a decision affecting so many individuals, it's important to find a consensus. This decision will ensure convenience and efficiency for State Fair visitors."

The 2014 Iowa State Fair starts on Aug. 7.

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