How a County Fair Can Use Event Surveys to Measure Attendee Experience and Feedback

Each summer, 46 state fairs take place in the United States, in addition to countless county and cultural fairs. Event surveys are a great market research methodology for county fairs to collect feedback and measure satisfaction among visitors. Similarly, Drive Research has conducted event surveys for The Great New York State Fair and can easily replicate this process for any county fair in the nation. 

The Great New York State Fair is a popular end of summer tradition for nearby residents as well as visitors from many miles away. The Fair used event or exit surveys to gain a better understanding of just how far Fair visitors have traveled and the overall satisfaction of all attendees. 

In the summer of 2019, the Fair drew in a total of 1,329,275 attendees. The event lasted 13 days, beginning on Wednesday, August 21 and ending on Monday, September 2. The 2019 New York State Fair broke a new attendance record, even beating the previous attendance record in 2018 of 1,279,010 visitors.  

To continue breaking new attendance records at The New York State Fair it is important to collect feedback and demographic information of Fairgoers. A Rochester based full-service advertising agency partnered with Drive Research to conduct event surveys to assist in collecting this said data for the forth year in a row. 

This is an official New York State Fair sponsored survey commissioned by New York State each summer. The exit survey offers the most precise and reliable feedback for the event.

state fair event survey with drive research

This market research case study outlines the objectives, approach, and outcomes of the event survey conducted at The New York State Fair. A similar approach can be replicated for any county fair in the United States.


Regardless if it is a repeat market research study or a completely new project, it is important to first understand the objectives of completing the project.

The objectives of the Fair event survey included:

  • Understanding the general perception of Fairgoers
  • The reasons for attending
  • The appeal of exhibits and other attractions at the Fair
  • Collecting attendee ZIP Code origin and demographics

The data collected from the event survey will be used to create a fact and evidence-driven marketing campaign for the Fair for the following year. The feedback and outcomes from State Fair attendees will also serve as a roadmap to improve marketing and operational strategies as well as other secondary objectives.


In 2017 and 2018, a similar exit survey was conducted for the Fair by our market research firm in New York. With the success of the visitor survey in the past years a comparable methodology and process was used in 2019. This includes:

  • Collecting ZIP Code origin of attendees
  • Collecting email addresses
  • Sending a follow-up online survey via email the next morning 

Collecting Zip Codes & Email Addresses

In order to collect Zip Codes and email addresses of Fair attendees, our event survey market research company staffed 10 interviewers as well as one on-site manager. This team was present at several exit gates at the Fair throughout the duration of each day and night.

To collect ZIP Codes and email addresses, interviewers were given tablets with offline capabilities. This eliminates the need of relying on faulty Wi-Fi to submit attendee information. 

Those who provided their contact information received a follow-up online survey to the email address in which they provided the next morning. Sending a survey the next day helps reduce memory bias of Fairgoers experiences. 

Follow-up Email Survey

The follow-up email survey included 35-40 questions. On average, the survey took Fairgoers approximately 5 to 10 minutes to complete. The email survey included a mix of multiple-choice, open-ended, and slider questions. 

This approach to the event survey continues to be successful. It is less invasive and less time consuming for Fairgoers leaving the Fair to only be asked to provide their ZIP Code and email address, rather than completing the event survey on the spot. This methodology is a great alternative to intercept surveys.

Another methodology to consider would be GPS exit surveys, which would completely eliminate the need of having an interviewer onsite. 

By sending a follow-up email including a link to the online exit survey, attendees are able to complete the survey in the comfort of their own home or when they have free time. To encourage a high event survey response rate, Drive Research recommended offering an incentive.

Incentive for Survey Respondents 

Fair attendees who completed the exit survey had the opportunity to win 1 of 13, $100 Amazon gift cards. In addition, at the end of the Fair, 1 random winner was chosen as a winner of The Great New York State Fair Medallion. This medallion offers free admission to the State Fair for life.  


After fieldwork was closed, Drive Research created an event survey report including individual sections for objectives and methodology, executive summary, strategic implications and ideas, visitor profiles, fair experience, engagement with attractions, advertising awareness, and question by question appendix. 

The New York State Fair event survey was designed to answer many questions, including: 

  • What is the Fairgoer profile based on key demographic and lifestyle characteristics?
  • How do visitors get to the Fair and how is this experience rated?
  • Where do Fairgoers come from when attending?
  • What role does media play in informing visitors about the Fair?
  • How much money do visitors’ perceptions of their overall Fair experience?
  • Why do visitors attend the Fair and what are their attendance habits?
  • What is the awareness and impact of discount admission days?

Overall, 14,284 ZIP Codes and 10,802 email addresses were collected from Fair visitors. Drive Research checked all responses for data quality, duplicate emails, and duplicate IP addresses to assure no one was submitting multiple surveys in order to increase their chances of winning an Amazon gift card or medallion. 

3,878 Fair attendees responded to the follow-up survey (a 35.9% response rate). Of those responses, 3,130 were complete from start to finish representing a 81% completion rate. 

Contact Drive Research

Drive Research is a fair market research company who works with organizations across the United States to assist with intercept surveys, online surveys, and experience surveys.

Questions about an upcoming fair market research project? Contact us 1 of 4 ways below.

  1. Message us on our website
  2. Email us at
  3. Call us at 888-725-DATA
  4. Text us at 315-303-2040

Market Research Case Studies