Meet Fairs.com: The Company Behind the Digital Resurgence of Fairs Across America

06072024 Scott Hillyer

The Evolution of Fairs 

Fairs have experienced significant transformations over the years. In the early 1900s, these events were primarily agricultural showcases where farmers displayed their livestock and harvests. By the 1970s, fairs had evolved into vibrant entertainment events featuring carnivals, shows, food vendors, and rides. While fairs have retained their agricultural roots, they have also become major entertainment hubs, hosting big-name concerts, demolition derbies, and rodeos. These events now offer a variety of experiences that both educate and entertain fairgoers.

Today’s fairs, with their modern attractions and diverse entertainment options, now face the necessity of another evolution—one crucial not only for their prosperity but also for their very survival.

Modern fairgoers, like nearly all consumers today, expect to learn about events, engage with brands, and make purchases directly from their phones. While countless other entertainment options flood social media feeds, fairs often remain absent from these platforms. Today’s fairgoers not only want to discover events through social media but also expect to purchase and redeem tickets via their phones. With over 90% of Americans active on social media, failing to establish an online presence jeopardizes the viability of any fair. Outdated practices, such as buying wristbands with cash at local stores, no longer meet customer expectations. To thrive, fairs must provide a modern online experience that meets the demands and expectations of today’s consumers.

Many fairs have indeed embraced the need for change, but have had to go to multiple vendors to cobble together a solution. They have hired marketing agencies, invested in modern websites, and utilized digital ticketing systems in an effort to transition into the current age However, executing such a transformation remains a challenge for many fairs given the time, cost, and coordination needed to work with these different vendors.

Fairs.com has stepped in to address this challenge. Scott Hillyer, the company’s founder, explains: “We do everything a fair needs to to embrace the digital trends, we believe every fair should have the opportunity to market and showcase their event online, regardless of budget constraints. With Fairs.com, any fair can now effectively promote their events through engaging social media content, creative email campaigns, and tailored websites—all at no cost to the fair.”

How Fairs.com was born

The idea for Fairs.com originated when Scott attended a large fair with his family and encountered a frustrating ticketing experience. From confusing ticket options to issues with his tickets at the event, Scott was struck by the absence of modern technologies in play. He recalls, “The planning for Fairs.com began as I waited in line with my frustrated children and other unhappy families for an hour to resolve the issues with our tickets.”

As Scott spoke with fair boards across the country, he heard numerous complaints about the shortcomings of current digital ticketing systems. Additionally, he heard of an even bigger challenge: Many fairs were struggling with effective marketing and experiencing declining attendance numbers as a result.

Fairs.com was built with both of these challenges in mind: By delivering a comprehensive suite of marketing tools, along with a digital ticketing system specifically designed for fairs, Fairs.com offers a comprehensive, affordable, and powerful set of solutions to help any fair grow and thrive in today’s digital world.

Solutions to help Fairs thrive

Fairs.com offers both marketing services and a ticketing system specifically built for fairs, addressing the unique complexities of fair operations that larger platforms often overlook.

The company’s marketing offerings include user-friendly websites, engaging social media advertisements, and creative email campaigns aimed at helping fairs grow. These digital marketing services are more cost effective than traditional methods, allowing fairs to reach targeted demographics at a fraction of the cost. For example, Fairs.com customers can typically reach 1,000 potential attendees for less than $2, compared to $35-$40+ through the channels many fairs primarily rely on today, such as TV, radio, and print publications.

Fairs.com also provides a fully integrated ticketing system tailored to the specific needs of fairs. This system includes features such as distinct ticket types and packages, gate management and permissions, audit reporting, and reserved seat maps. The system also offers detailed analytics, providing organizers with essential data insights for reconciling balances, passing audits, and understanding overall event performance. Simplified payment processing allows customers to pay conveniently using cards or Apple Pay, with funds promptly transferred to the fair’s account. These fair-specific capabilities streamline the entry process, reduce operational headaches, and enable quicker admissions to the delight of both fairgoers as well as fairs’ bottom lines.

“We recently moved away from a large, general digital ticketing partner to Fairs.com, which focuses specifically on fairgrounds and events like ours. The difference has been night and day. The support their team has provided is unlike anything we had previously experienced,” says Jennifer Ridenour of Tenacious Dames.

Fairs.com is more than just a service provider; it’s a partner in growth for fair and festival organizers worldwide. “We’re blending the best of technology with time-honored fair traditions, ensuring these vibrant community gatherings continue to thrive and inspire future generations,” says Hillyer.

With a focus on technology, innovative marketing strategies, and a fair-first mentality, Fairs.com is set to redefine how fairs and festivals operate nationwide. The future of fairs and festivals is here, and it’s digital. ​​

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