Journal Express, Knoxville, IA

January 9, 2014

State Fair abandons "cashless" idea


Journal-Express

Des Moines — The Iowa State Fair Board has abandoned its plan for a "cashless" payment system for food and beverages at the fair. 

"Iowa State Fairgoers may continue to use their favorite form of payment for their purchases at this year’s Fair. The Iowa State Fair Board has decided today that they will not implement a mandatory cashless payment system at the 2014 Fair. Instead, they will continue 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 Fair Board said in a press release. 

Since the announcement of a cashless, ticket system to pay for fair food and beverages was made earlier this week, the Iowa State Fair Board has received a great deal of criticism. 

"The Fair Board strives to make sound business decisions in the best interest of the Fair and its Fairgoers. The Iowa State Fair’s operating budget is self-funding, and all Fair profits are reinvested in Fairgrounds infrastructure and fund a better Fair experience. 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," the Fair Board's release continues. 

Gov. Terry Branstad and Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds today applauded the Iowa State Fair Board’s decision to maintain its cash payment system for food and drinks. Branstad called yesterday for the board to listen to the people of Iowa. 

“I’m pleased the Iowa State Fair Board has listened to fairgoers’ concerns and decided to maintain its cash payment system,” said Branstad. “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.”

Lt. Gov. Reynolds, who serves on the Board and joined the meeting via conference call, said, “The people of Iowa take great pride in their state fair, so it came as no surprise that Iowans were quick to express their opinion on the decision. I applaud the board’s decision today - which reflects the sentiment of a majority of Iowans - giving Iowans the ability to use cash for food and drink concessions.”