After taking a look back at the 2018 expo, the Colorado State Fair Board of Authority and General Manager Scott Stoller now have their sights on this year's presentation, which kicks off on Aug. 23.

During its annual retreat, the board reviewed financial results from the 2018 Fair, and with the exception of concert gate revenue, all receipts tracked upward.

This year's paid gate admission totaled $888,484, up from 2017's $829,560. Similarly seeing a spike was the carnival, with ticket sales bringing in $1.2 million, a $100,000-plus increase from 2017. As for food vendor sales, this year's take was $2,471,567 — a $186,308 gain when compared to 2017.

The only area with a decrease was concert gate revenue. In 2018, the Fair's ticketed entertainment package brought in $859,692, a small dip from the previous year's tally of $885,787.

And with no debt to the state treasury, the Fair continues to gain financial traction.

"Overall, the sentiment was very positive during the retreat," Stoller said. "The board was very pleased with the facility improvements that have been made over the past year. We repainted several buildings, including the rodeo arena and ag palace, and the livestock pavilion got resurfaced."

Soon to get a new roof is the events center, with a new air conditioner for that facility on the horizon.

As for the 2019 entertainment lineup, Stoller said "a good chunk" has already been booked.

For the opening nights of rodeo in the Budweiser Grandstand Arena, Stoller said two "pretty current country acts, strong acts for the rodeo demographic" are on board, with a legendary pop-rock act, no stranger to the Fair, slated to perform in the Southwest Motors Events Center. Also in the events center, a group Stoller termed a "up-and-coming country act" is under contract.

Additionally, an offer has been made to an act that falls into the rock genre.

The entertainment lineup will be revealed in June, with ticket sales to begin soon after the announcement.

As for free acts, a hypnotist and a high-dive show have been confirmed.

Reflecting the Fair's long-running horse show, the 2019 theme will be "Horsin' Around in Pueblo since 1869."

Added Stoller, "The pieces are falling together very nicely for the 2019 Fair. We're working on more promotions that the community will really like, including simpler and more affordable access."

jpompia@chieftain.com