The new executive director of the Nebraska State Fair comes to the job with more than 25 years of experience.
Lori Cox plans to take a strategic approach to improving the fair after listening to its visitors.
“I’m curious about people’s traffic patterns, and what they’re accustomed to and willing to accommodate for getting out of town and getting on the road,” Cox tells Nebraska Radio Network. “All of those things are a sweet challenge to be able to observe in this first year as executive director, and then build a plan for our future.”
She served as general manager of the Big Sky Country State Fair in Montana and with the Western Idaho Fair.
Those achieved record growth in attendance, sponsorships, carnival and concession sales, and media coverage during her time there.
“[Big Sky Country State Fair was] a very small fair, but really, experiencing a completely different atmosphere. We were really training that area to become a fairgoer,” she says. “They weren’t used to having a fair of any kind of capacity to have night shows and livestock shows.”
Cox says she wants to focus on growing attendance at the fair.
“With about 380,000 people coming through the gates this last summer, they nearly bested their record here,” she says, “so I’m looking forward to going into full analysis on what that looks like from a marketing standpoint, and being able to move those numbers into greater capacities.”
Cox says she wants to examine the Omaha market, which the Iowa State Fair targets with a lot of advertising.
She plans on doing a listening tour of the seven State Fair Board districts to gather input.