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L.A. County Fair will keep a lid on entrance prices

L.A. County Fair will keep a lid on entrance prices
Kids have mixed reactions as they are sent upside down and sideways several times on the Tango ride on the first day of the Los Angeles County Fair on Aug. 31. Entrance prices won't increase this year, an effort to boost attendance. (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

The Los Angeles County Fair won’t raise entrance prices and will continue to offer popular discounted meal packages — both efforts to increase attendance to the annual summer festival.

The fair’s operator is hoping to build on last year’s 5% visitor increase, which followed a nearly 7% decline in 2017. This summer, the fair will celebrate pop culture in toys, music and art, with offerings that include a disco studio and a giant Etch A Sketch.

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One-day entrance prices for adults will remain at $14 for weekdays and $20 for weekends, the same price charged since 2016, said Miguel Santana, chief executive of Fairplex, home of the fair.

The weekday entrance fee will be $8 for children (ages 6 to 12) and $10 for seniors. On weekends, those prices rise to $12 for children and $15 for seniors. Children 5 and younger enter free.

For a second year, popular $6.60 value meal packages will be sold by nearly every food vendor.

“We are committed to making it affordable,” said Santana, who took over as Fairplex chief executive in 2017. “Value is a big part of what I’ve been emphasizing.”

The fair also will set aside specific days when residents of a particular city or county in Southern California can attend at a discount, a feature that was launched last year, he said.

The festival of deep-fried food, stomach-turning rides and old-school bands will run Aug. 30 to Sept. 22 at the Fairplex in Pomona.

Attendance dropped in 2017 to 1.23 million visitors — including school groups, which are allowed in free — from 1.32 million in 2016, which Santana attributed to unusually scorching heat.

But in 2018, attendance of paying customers — not counting school groups — rose to 1.13 million from 1.07 million, a 5% increase. The fair began releasing this statistic in 2017.

As part of last year’s theme, celebrating the culture of Route 66, each food vendor offered a $6.60 meal package, such as a meal of mac and cheese in a waffle cone with buffalo chicken. Santana said the deal was so popular last year that it will be offered by vendors this year.

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