Niverville Fair Charts a More Sustainable Course



The Niverville Fair Committee has undergone a restructuring this year in order to ensure that the annual Olde Tyme Country Fair can continue to draw crowds—hopefully for years to come. The reality is that several consecutive of years of poor weather had put the fair on precarious financial footing.

“After another less than great weather year, we were forced to make changes,” says organizer Dustin Krahn. “There was really a need to set things in a sustainable direction with a budget that isn’t as dependant on weather. And we feel that we will be able to maintain the quality of the event that people are used to—mostly by being a bit more creative with some of the things we do.”

Krahn adds that most fairgoers aren’t going to notice a huge change. There will still be concerts, street entertainment, games, and the street market people have come to expect.

The most visible change is the possible omission of the fireworks show. Not only is it among the largest expenses, but Krahn points out that it’s also the hardest part of the fair to recuperate costs for.

Unlike a concert or acrobatics show, fireworks are easily visible from a long distance away, allowing people to enjoy the show without having to enter the fairgrounds.

“It’s not to say everybody is cheating, but it has presented a challenge for us,” says Krahn. “We absolutely encourage people to enjoy the fireworks from anywhere they want, but we only ask that if they enjoyed the show and liked what they saw, that they pitch in to cover the costs so that we can keep doing these kinds of things.”

The big Saturday night concert is still a go. While the fair committee isn’t yet ready to announce the headliner, Krahn says the act has been secured. This artist has been nominated multiple times for Junos and Canadian Country Music Awards, with many singles cracking Canada’s top ten. 

One potential benefit to fairgoers is that the new structure will allow the committee to offer cheaper admission. 

For those who wait to see the weather forecast before walking up to the gate, the prices aren’t going to change (except that kids 12 and under will now pay just $5). But for those who buy online tickets in advance, they’ll be able to purchase a weekend pass for half the gate price.

“We have always understood that the fair can be an expensive venture for a family,” says Krahn. “The purpose of this is to sell tickets and get revenue flowing before the fair begins. Using a family of four, with two kids under 12 as an example, it turns the fair from a $100 weekend into a $40 weekend. We think that is pretty significant and hope that it helps more families to enjoy the weekend.”

While some might point out that it’s possible to lose some revenue by lowering the gate price, the committee sees an opportunity to attract more people with more affordable rates, particularly families.

“At the end of the day, things cost what they cost,” Krahn says. “Our current situation really highlights the fact that we have never ‘made’ money by charging people what we have in the past. It’s always a delicate balance between getting world-class entertainment and keeping the costs reasonable.”

Krahn adds that the fair is always looking for help. The committee is surprisingly small, considering all that has to be done.

“The term ‘many hands make light work’ really rings true for an event like ours. More people would undoubtedly make it a way better event, allowing people to narrow their focus and really concentrate on their particular tasks.”

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