MONROE — The Evergreen State Fair offers a chance every summer to reconnect with the area’s rural past.
This year, it’s also trying to catch up with the present, by offering online ticket sales.
For the first time ever, patrons of the Snohomish County-run fair will be able to buy and print admission tickets over the Internet. That should help replace the old system of paper tickets, hand stamps for re-entry and manual clickers to tally attendance.
The electronic ticketing system also is designed to let folks pay for special events inside the gates, including concerts, car races and rodeos.
“We’re hoping it’ll be much more convenient for everybody,” county parks director Tom Teigen said. “People can go online, pick their events and pick their seats.”
As in the past, people will still be able to buy printed fair tickets at Bartell Drugs, QFC grocery stores in Snohomish County and other retail spots, as well as at the fairgrounds ticket office.
The online tickets are scheduled to go on sale starting June 10 at www.evergreenfair.org. This year’s fair runs Aug. 25 through Sept. 5.
The new ticketing arrangement owes to a recent contract between the county and Intelli-Mark Technologies. Under the agreement, the Morrisville, N.C., company charges the county nothing for deploying its Etix system at the 2011 and 2012 county fairs.
To make its money, the company plans to charge buyers “convenience fees” for admission and event tickets. The fee on admission tickets is $1 for adults and 50 cents for children and senior citizens. The fee for rodeo tickets is 10 percent of the ticket price. For concerts or auto races, it’s 15 percent of the ticket price, up to a maximum of $4.50.
For years, parks officials have looked for a way to hawk fair tickets online. The complexity of selling tickets for multiple events, the number of entry gates and data-privacy issues were some hang-ups that kept that from happening until now, Teigen said.
Beyond making life easier for fairgoers, the high-tech tickets promise to save the county money on paper tickets and to whisk people through the front gates more quickly with scanning devices.
Another advantage: having attendance and revenue information in real time. That should allow fair organizers to make better decisions about staffing and services.
“It’s way more customer-friendly, way more data-friendly, and a better project at lower cost,” Teigen said.
The 2010 fair drew about 750,000 people.
This year’s theme is “Hungry for Fun.” Special events include tributes to the late country musician and restaurateur Gerry Andal, who died in March at age 67.
A new fairgrounds event center is under construction to replace the fairgrounds’ old 1948 barns for rabbits, poultry, dogs and other smaller animals. Work on the building is expected to finish well before the fair starts.
Noah Haglund: 425-339-3465, email@example.com.
Just the ticket
Online tickets for the Evergreen State Fair go on sale starting June 10 at www.evergreenfair.org. Other ways to buy electronic tickets are calling Etix at 800-514-3849 or visiting the fairgrounds office at 14405 179th Ave. SE, Monroe, between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Mondaythrough Friday.
Anybody who signs up for the fair’s e-newsletter by June 2 will get a code to buy tickets online early between June 6 and 9.