Rides, rodeos, funnel cakes, and cooking contests are just some of the things you would expect to find every summer at state fairs across the country. But what about hot tubs and fairs? What an odd mix. That’s what most people think when you mention the two in the in the same sentence. The two ideas couldn’t be further apart in most people minds, yet a strong correlation has been made between these two things over the past 30 years and the relationship couldn’t be stronger. Why, might you ask? That is because state and county fairs have had a long tradition of allowing exhibitors and vendors to rent booth space and set up shop from 5 – 21 days (depending on the length of the fair) to sell anything from widgets to tractors and hot tubs have been no exception. In fact, the hot tub retail industry has carved out a little niche over time by creating a hot tub market place every year for fair patrons to shop and compare different brands and dealers in one location adding convenience and competitive pricing for those in the market to buy a hot tub. The tradition of buying a hot tub at the fair has been so profound that consumers actually wait for the fair to buy because they want “the best deals”. Hot tub shoppers also save time traveling from showroom to showroom to compare brands, quality, features, and value. In this article we will break down the top 10 best fairs for buying a hot tub and also whether the deals are as good as one might expect.
First, let’s look at the economics of a fair. Depending on the duration and the attendance of a fair you can expect to see booth spaces range from $5,000-$100,000 for a 2000-3000 square foot booth space which is what most hot tub booths require. That’s quite a range, however, most of fairs we will reference below are going to be on the higher end of the range given they are some of the largest and most well-attended in the country allowing them to charge vendors a handsome premium. The justification for a hot tub dealer or retailer to pay these exorbitant booth costs is sales volume and in some cases some financial support from their hot tub manufacturers (coop dollars). Hard to think that you can sell enough hot tubs at a 5-21 days fair to justify a $50,000-$100,000 booth cost but the truth is that it makes financial sense and the hot tub companies keep coming back. Simply put, it’s a sheer numbers game for the hot tub dealers and other vendors since attendance equals sales. For example, the Minnesota State Fair has nearly two million visitors in a twelve day period and some of the hot tub retailers sell as many as 200-300 hot tubs during the course of the fair. When you consider your average mom and pop hot tub store sells between 50-150 hot tubs all year long it is both impressive and alluring for a dealer to do twice their store’s annual volume in a matter of two weeks. Furthermore, some fairs limit the number of hot tub exhibitors so that there is enough business to go around and worthwhile for the hot tub companies. This has worked out well for everyone involved since the hot tub companies are profitable enough to come back, the spirit of competition and good pricing is there for the consumers, and the booth revenues are there for the fair.
Second, let’s look at whether or not the average hot tub buyer is getting a “great deal” at the fair. Many hot tub dealers price their hot tubs similar to how they would in their retail showrooms with very little to no discounts, however, they typically offer some “fair specials” which are a handful of models that are value packed that they advertise in order to entice customers. In some cases, a fair special might be a limited edition model that the hot tub manufacturer builds only for the fair with a special set of features and upgrades at an attractive price. Furthermore, there is a highly competitive spirit between the dealers (and between sales people in different booths) which causes a fair amount of negotiation to take place in an effort to get the sale. In other words, buying at the fair can be a lot like buying a car. It’s always in your best interest to shop a few dealer (3) and select the models you like and ask for their best price and they will likely sharpen their pencil in an effort to earn your business. There is also some sentiment that the last day or two of the fair is the best day to buy which is usually not the case unless you are buying a floor model (assuming there’s one still available). You should be able to walk in and negotiate a good price at any point and sometimes the weekdays are better because there is less traffic allowing a consumer to spend more quality time with a sales person and get a better deal.
For more detailed information on how to buy a quality hot tub at a good price then visit our buyer’s guide pages. Also click the pink box at the top right of every page to get free competitive local hot tub quotes.
Top 10 State Fairs and County Fairs:
1. Texas State Fair Hot Tubs– The largest fair in the country with over 3.5 million visitors. The Texas State Fair has been going for over 125 years and starts at the end of September thru the end of October.
2. Minnesota State Fair Hot Tubs – The second most well attended fair in the country with 1.8 million visitors. The Minnesota Fair, held in St. Paul, has been going on for over 150 years and typically runs the last week of August and end on Labor Day.
3. The Big E Hot Tubs– With over 1.3 million visitors annually, the Big E is a multi-state fair in Springfield, MA. The fair typically runs from the middle of September through the first weekend in October.
4. Tulsa State Fair Hot Tubs – With 1.2 million visitors annually the Tulsa State fair run the last weekend in September thru the middle of October.
5. Arizona State Fair Hot Tubs – With 1.1 million visitors the Arizona State Fair runs from the middle of October thru the first weekend in November.
6. Wisconsin State Fair Hot Tubs – With over 165 years of tradition, the Wisconsin State Fair is still going strong with over 1.1 million in attendance annually. The fair runs typically runs the first two weeks in August every summer.
7. Ohio State Fair Hot Tubs – Held in Columbus, the Ohio State Fair boasts nearly 1 million visitors each year and runs the last weekend in July through the first weekend in August
8. Washington State Fair Hot Tubs– With over 1 million in attendance each year the Washington State fair located in Puyallup, WA runs 21 days starting on Labor Day weekend thru the end of September.
9. New York State Fair Hot Tubs– With over 900,000 visitors each year the New York State fair is among the biggest in the country. The fair run the last weekend in August thru Labor Day.
10. San Diego County Fair (Del Mar) Hot Tubs – Held oceanside in Del Mar, CA the San Diego County Fair has one of the prettiest backdrops of any fair in the country and run
Runner Up – California State Fair Hot Tubs – With over 900,000 in attendance the California State Fair in Sacramento is held from the middle of July through the end of July each year.