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Missoula County goes "fee free" for Western MT Fair - KPAX.com | Continuous News | Missoula & Western Montana

Missoula County goes "fee free" for Western MT Fair

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The Western Montana Fai ris set to run from Aug. 8 until Aug. 13 this year. Dennis Bragg/MTN News photo) The Western Montana Fai ris set to run from Aug. 8 until Aug. 13 this year. Dennis Bragg/MTN News photo)
MISSOULA -

The Missoula County Commission is giving the go-ahead to a sweeping plan to make the Western Montana Fair "fee free".  Tuesday's action means fair-goers will no longer have to pay the $6 admission charge when attending the annual fair in August.

The plan has been under study by the Fair's Events Committee for several months, as they looked at ways to boost fair attendance, and just as importantly, renew interest in the fair and the importance of the fairgrounds.

Events Manager Tom Aldrich estimates the county pulls in about $100,000 a year through the gate. But there's a feeling increased traffic will offset that amount by boosting revenue through concessions, carnival attractions and fees to arena events like rodeo, which will remain unchanged. 

Aldrich says the plan will also be cheaper for the county to implement. Last year the county had to shell out $46,000 just to pay city and county law enforcement to secure the gates and cash on-site. 

Fair staff also say that the "fee free" plan will be more equitable for fair volunteers -- and especially 4H members and their parents who've had to pay to enter the fairgrounds in the past. 

The Western Montana Fair is set to run from Aug. 8 until Aug. 13 this year.

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