The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Iowa

January 10, 2014

Cashless system scrapped for Iowa State Fair

DES MOINES — Officials behind the iconic Iowa State Fair on Thursday announced they were scrapping plans to eliminate cash sales at food vendors and other attractions, following public backlash.

The Iowa State Fair Board canceled plans for the cashless payment system following a meeting, The Des Moines Register reported. The board later released a statement with its decision.

"The Iowa State Fair Board has decided today that they will not implement a mandatory cashless payment system at the 2014 Fair," said the statement. "Instead, they will continue to investigate future implementation of a more progressive system that will eliminate Fairgoers' concerns of the inconvenience of paper tickets and long lines, improve the concessionaires' reporting system and accommodate the Fair's infrastructure."

Fair officials had announced Tuesday that they would sell 50-cent tickets online and at multiple locations at the fairgrounds for food and other rides. They said the new system, which was voted on during a November meeting, would be more secure and speed up food purchases.

In response, some longtime fairgoers said the hassle of new lines and other confusion over how many tickets to get would keep them at home.

Gov. Terry Branstad and Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds issued a statement that said they were pleased with the board's decision. Reynolds herself serves on the board, and participated in Thursday's meeting via conference call. She was not present for the November vote that unanimously approved the cashless system.

"I'm pleased the Iowa State Fair Board has listened to fairgoers' concerns and decided to maintain its cash payment system," Branstad said. "When making a decision affecting so many individuals, it's important to find a consensus. This decision will ensure convenience and efficiency for State Fair visitors."

This year's Iowa State Fair is scheduled for Aug. 7-17.

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