The famous Iowa State Fair began Thursday, meaning that the 2016 candidates, sniffing the fried batter on the air, will begin turning their campaign vehicles toward its well-populated boundaries.
The overflowing presidential field certainly has TVÂ advertisers seeing dollar signs — but it should have Fair organizers doing the same. After all, with 22 candidates, many of whom have extensive families, there are a lot of tickets and corndogs to be sold. To be specific: 110 tickets and 111 corndogs, by our count.
As an experiment, we set out trying to figure out how much it would cost the 2016 field to drive their immediate families (five people to a car, max) to the fair, gain admission and feed everyone who isn’t an infant a root beer (from Griffins Ice Cold Root Beer), a corndog (Benoit’s Chicken Fried Bacon and Corn Dogs) and a single-scoop cone (Bauder’s Ice Cream). Granted, in many cases the immediate family includes adult children who might have their own kids (think: Chelsea Clinton), but this is just an experiment for Pete’s sake. Chill out.
The basic costs: Admission is $11 for anyone over the age of 11 and $5 for kids 6-11. Parking a car is $10, but you can park a bike (Sanders family) for $2. The Benoit’s corndog is $4 — find them on the Fair’s interactive food map! — and the root beer and ice cream are $2.50 a piece.
Under those boundaries? The candidates would spend a combined total of just less thanÂ $2,500 at the fair.
The most expensive family is the most extensive family: The Santorums. They’d be paying $194. The least pricey attendee is the single Lindsey Graham, laying out $30 to drive himself there and grab a bite.
This doesn’t include rides or staffers or anything else, by the way. If you get Play Packs, allowing access to various rides, the candidates would spend $140 for the 6-11-year olds and $15 for Ted Cruz’s littlest one. Or they would have were the Play Packs not sold out. This is why you need good advance work, guys.
But, really, spending $2,500 to get 111 people into a fair and give each a corndog, a soda and an ice cream is a pretty decent deal. And if worse comes to worse, candidates can always ask their PACs to chip in.