Adult fair admission to jump by $1 under 2015 Del Mar fairgrounds budget

Adult visitors to next summer’s San Diego County Fair will pay $1 more for admission, as well as “modest” price increases on food and beverages, under a budget for 2015 approved by the agency that operates the state-owned Del Mar Fairgrounds.

The board of directors of the 22nd District Agricultural Association unanimously approved the $70.3 million spending plan at its meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 16.

The 2015 operating budget represents a 6.49 percent increase — or $4.3 million — over the agency’s 2014 budget.

“This will be the largest budget we’ve ever presented,” said fairgrounds General Manager Tim Fennell. “We think this is doable, realistic and pretty exciting.”

The budget calls for adult tickets to the fair to cost $15 in 2015, a $1 increase from this year. Tickets for seniors and children will remain unchanged at $8. The fair will also offer a number of promotions, such as discount tickets available at Albertson’s supermarkets and military bases, as well as $4 admission days, and a run-of-the-fair pass for $25.

The 2015 fair will open Friday, June 5, and close Sunday, July 5, a run of 24 1/2 days, up from 24 days in 2014.

The major increases in expenses, according to a staff budget report, include $1.6 million more for payroll and employee benefits. That figure includes proposed employee pay raises totaling $400,000, which would still require approval by the state and the district’s board of directors. Costs for food and beverage service at the fairgrounds are anticipated to go up $2.1 million, because of increased days of operation of the fair and horse racing meets in the summer and fall.

Along with the additional half-day operation of the fair, the summer horse racing meeting will expand to 40 days from this year’s 36, and the fall racing meet will run 20 days, up from 15 days this year.

Food and beverage revenue is projected to go up by $2.5 million, to $24.8 million. Total revenue for all fair and non-fair admissions is projected at $10.9 million for 2015, an increase of 10.4 percent, according to the budget report.

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