Demo derby

The compact class prepares for the demolition derby during the Wood County Fair on August 5, 2019.

Wood County Fair is finally accepting credit cards

The Wood County Fair will now be accepting credit cards at all entries. Credit cards will also be accepted for anything the fair offers.

“We are taking credit cards for everything. We are taking credit cards at the grand stands for all of the grand stand events. Your entries, your camping, anything through the fair office can be done on credit card now,” senior fair board treasurer Jim Grames said.

Vendors are also expected to be accepting credit cards. Grames said he expects more and more vendors to not only accept credit cards, but go cashless in the near future.

Grames said the fair bought tablets for admissions to use at the booths to take credit cards. There will be three tablets at the front entrance and two tablets at the back entrance.

Cash will still be accepted at the fair. As of right now, there will be no credit card only lines at the entries. Grames expects the tablets will help prevent long, slow moving lines.

This change should be more convenient for the fair goers. Debit and credit cards are being used more commonly now. Grames said he thinks the fair will see a lot of people using their credit cards.

“My wife and I are the same way. If we go somewhere and see they take a debit card, I’m going to use my debit card,” he said.

The idea to accept credit cards came from talks about coronavirus precautions. Grames said the fair wanted to limit the contact the gate people had with customers.

In the past, the fair used wristbands or stamps to show proof of payment and to record how many people entered the fair. Grames said with COVID precautions, there was no way for people to sanitize without removing their stamps. Volunteers were uncomfortable putting wristbands on people.

Accepting credit cards helps solve some of these issues.

Grames said they have volunteers from a local church to help with the fair. He also said it has been hard to get volunteers for the fair this year. To get more volunteers, the church had to partner with another church to get more volunteers for the fair.

With the tablets, there will be less people working at the entries. It will just be the people with the tablets working the booths and someone making sure everyone who comes in paid.

There will be no wristbands or stamps for people at the entries. Grames said the fair board is trying to eliminate costs of those items. He also said other county fairs don’t use those items, people pay and walk in. Receipts will be optional for people paying with a card.

The tablets will also help keep track of the number of people entering the fair. Before, the fair would number wristbands to try to get an accurate count of people entering. Grames said the wristbands would often be misnumbered or go out of order. This data is important for the fair board to keep.

“Everything has to be reportable to the state at the end of the fair. We need to track how many people come into our fair gates. We never had a reliable way to do that,” Grames said.

The tablets will store each purchase into a system for the fair to access later. Grames can then see the total number of tickets purchased during the fair.

There is also a counter on the tablet to count how many kids enter the fair. Children nine and under get into the fair for free. General admission to the fair is $7.00.

The new system should help create a more accurate report for the fair to send to the state. Grames said as the treasurer, it will make his job easier.

The focus right now is to get the admissions workers comfortable with the new technology and system. Once everyone has mastered the system, the fair could add more to the entries. Grames said in the future, the fair could have self-serving kiosks at the gates.

Even with a new focus on accepting credit cards, the fair has no preference on how customers pay.

“There’s no preference for us as far as what people use. We’re just trying to make it more convenient and trying to get more in line with what people are using today,” Grames said.