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State Fair Cuts Prices of Tickets

FOR THE RECORD: This story incorrectly attributed a quote to fair spokesman Michael Henningsen. In a letter to the Journal, Henningsen gave examples of other leisure activities that cost as much as or more than attending the fair, but he did not say, “Lots of things are expensive.”

By Leslie Linthicum
Journal Staff Writer
       Gov. Bill Richardson struck a blow for smoked turkey legs and Tilt-A-Whirl rides — and the people who love them — on Friday when he ordered managers at the New Mexico State Fair to drop admission and midway prices, starting today.
    The admission price cut is only $1, but it will stay in effect until the fair closes Sept. 21 and comes with a better deal at the midway.
    The cost of weekend all-day ride passes is dropping to $25 from $35.
    Adult admission drops from $9 to $8; senior citizen admission drops from $5 to $4 and kids' admission drops from $4 to $3.
    And on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, the fair will offer admission tickets and midway passes at two for the price of one.
    Richardson made the announcement in a news release that said he "ordered State Fair officials to immediately re-evaluate admission and midway prices."
    Fair attendance has been tepid since the event opened Sept. 5. Admission prices last year were $7 for adults, and fair officials denied that the steep increase in the adult admission had anything to do with a 14 percent drop off in attendance the first two days, the last days for which attendance figures were available Friday.
    In a letter to the Journal on Friday, defending the price increase over past years, Expo New Mexico spokesman Michael Henningsen gave examples of other leisure activities that cost as much as or more than attending the fair.
    But Richardson said New Mexicans who are already struggling with high gas prices and an uncertain economy shouldn't have to forgo their State Fair tradition.
    "The fair is one of our state's great traditions, and we need to make sure it is affordable and accessible to every New Mexico family," he said.