Field Days revamps its tickets

NEW HAVEN — Among the new features at the 68th annual Addison County Fair & Field Days next week will be a small item that many visitors won’t even see — a new, more complex ticket.
After a rash of fraudulent tickets cost the nonprofit that runs the fair almost $12,000 last year, organizers have taken steps to make sure it never happens again.
Last year’s tickets to the fair were produced on simple paper stock. Only slight discrepancies in lettering and the sharpness of the paper edges allowed Field Days staff to identify approximately 700 fake tickets that had been presented at the front gate last year.
This year’s tickets, custom-designed by national ticket manufacturer Ticketmaster, feature holograms unique to each ticket, scanable barcodes and identifying numbers in multiple locations. The tickets have varying sizes of text and images on both sides. Two types of tickets will be distributed this year: green tickets for adults and orange tickets for children.
“The size and feel of a Ticketmaster ticket with all the perforations it has and the size of text and appearance is going to be very difficult to duplicate,” Field Days director Benj Deppman said. 
In addition to the new tickets fair organizers have revamped their ticketing procedure to eliminate all presales of tickets. Fairgoers will simply pay for a colored wristband to wear for the day. The only tickets distributed before the fair are to vendors, concessionaires or exhibitors. Should fair officials be presented with a possible forgery, Deppman said gate officials will be able to track its origin.
“If we only give them to exhibitors and concessionaires and they’re all numbered, we know who we gave each ticket to,” he said. “If we see a photocopy of a number, we’re going to be able to track that number very well, but if there are presale tickets floating around, it’s hard to tell who that ticket was sold to.”
In addition, the New Haven Fire Department, which collects the tickets, will be acquainted with the new tickets before the start of the fair and the rest of the entrance staff will be up-to-date on the latest procedures so they know what to expect.
“The fair staff and the New Haven Fire Department are more familiar with ticket issues now as a result of last year,” said Deppman. “I don’t know that there are more staff or more people involved, but there is a higher level of education on our part.”
The Addison County Sherriff’s Department will provide the same entrance security as in years past.
Deppman said printing tickets through a national vendor did not come at an increased cost to the fair and therefore would not require an increase in entrance fees.
Ultimately, Deppman said, the new tickets and the way gate staff examine them is a “big improvement.”  
“We were disappointed that someone would take advantage of a nonprofit fair to the tune that they did last year and we’ve responded with what we think is a significant improvement in the security measures,” he said. “We’re hopeful that nothing more is required.” 

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