Profile of Irish Fair of Minnesota Attendees

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In 2011, the University of Minnesota Tourism Center conducted a profile of Irish Fair of
Minnesota attendees. Several attendee characteristics were of interest beyond
demographics, including information sources used to hear about the fair, spending habits,
most enjoyable fair attributes, satisfaction, means of transportation, and willingness to pay
a potential admission charge. To that end, a questionnaire was developed and administered
to a sample of Irish Fair of Minnesota attendees.

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Profile of Irish Fair of Minnesota Attendees

  1. 1. Prepared for:The Irish Fair of MinnesotaPrepared by:Andrew Oftedal, Graduate Research AssistantIngrid Schneider, Ph.D.A collaboration of the College of Food, Agricultural andNatural Resource Sciences & University of MinnesotaExtension
  2. 2. PROFILE OF IRISH FAIR OF MINNESOTA ATTENDEES 2011 ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS The authors would like to acknowledge the Irish Fair of Minnesota 2011 organizers. Specialthanks are extended to Sarah VanSickle, Angela Mens-Eastman, and the many volunteers who assisted with data collection efforts. Thank you to Art Nash of the University of MinnesotaCommunity Vitality Center for working with the zip code data and producing the visitor maps.UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA TOURISM CENTER 1
  3. 3. PROFILE OF IRISH FAIR OF MINNESOTA ATTENDEES 2011EXECUTIVE SUMMARYIn 2011, the University of Minnesota Tourism Center conducted a profile of Irish Fair ofMinnesota attendees. Several attendee characteristics were of interest beyonddemographics, including information sources used to hear about the fair, spending habits,most enjoyable fair attributes, satisfaction, means of transportation, and willingness to paya potential admission charge. To that end, a questionnaire was developed and administeredto a sample of Irish Fair of Minnesota attendees.MethodsAn on-site questionnaire was administered to attendees. A convenience sample wasimplemented with sampling throughout and across the event activities. A total of 786parties were contacted and 550 questionnaires completed resulting in a 70.0% completionrate. Completed questionnaires were entered, cleaned, and checked in SPSS version 19.0.ResultsDemographics: Most often respondents were female (53.1%), non-Hispanic (97.5%), White(89.1%), and reported an average age of 43.4 years. The most frequently cited income wasbetween $50,000-74,999 (19.0%). The attendees were primarily from the local area (80%within 25 miles), with 15% travelling 50 miles or more to attend the Fair.Fair experience: A majority of respondents were repeat attendees (62.6%). Repeatattendees had attended the Irish Fair of Minnesota an average of five times previously(M=4.7), most often as recently as 2010 (72.0%). On average, respondents spent morethan five hours (M=5.39) at the Irish Fair of Minnesota. Attendees reported a diverse rangeof reasons for attending the fair, as well as enjoying a diverse set of activities while there.Two fifths (40.0%) of respondents cited the live music as the most enjoyable attribute ofthe Irish Fair of Minnesota. Respondents reported high levels of satisfaction with the IrishFair of Minnesota, as evidenced by the high levels of repeat attendees and reportedsatisfaction (89.9% either “very satisfied” or “satisfied”).Fair expenditures: With the exception of the few attendees who paid for lodging, attendeesreported spending the most on souvenirs (M=$39.9). Three of four attendees paid forparking and spent an average of $9.7 on parking. More than half of attendees purchasedfood and beverage onsite and spent an average of $34.1.Information sources: Most often, attendees heard about the fair through word of mouth(47.6%). The second most frequently reported information source was “other” (25.6%),UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA TOURISM CENTER 2
  4. 4. PROFILE OF IRISH FAIR OF MINNESOTA ATTENDEES 2011including 11% family, 9% activity (e.g., rugby team, dance company), and 5% genericinternet sources (e.g., Google). Repeat attendees were significantly more likely to usenearly all sources of information, but were especially more likely to rely on Irish-community sources such as local Irish bars and restaurants, the Irish Fair webpage, and theIrish Gazette.Willingness to pay admission charge: The majority of respondents reported a willingness topay a potential admission charge (69.0%). The average response for amount attendeeswould be willing to pay was $5.00 (M=4.97).DiscussionThe 2011 Irish Fair of Minnesota attracted a range of attendees from both the local areaand beyond who found a variety of the events enjoyable.The majority of attendees expressed a willingness to pay an admission charge. However,almost a third of attendees (30.8%) either reported they would not be willing to pay acharge or refused to answer the question. Furthermore, 13% of respondents cited the fair’saffordability and/or no entry charge as their main reason for attending. Such resultssuggest an admission charge would have some impact on visitation levels.Results indicated an interesting discrepancy between main reasons for attending the fairand most enjoyable experience while at the fair. “Live music” and “food and beverages”were listed as most enjoyable experiences while at the fair but not the main reasons toattend the fair. Such results indicate future marketing could highlight the live music andarray of food and beverages as reasons for prospective attendees to attend the fair.A few differences arose when comparing 2011 results with results from a similarquestionnaire administered at the 2007 Irish Fair of Minnesota. The 2011 fair attracted aslightly younger audience and 2011 attendees were less likely to rely on traditional mediasuch as newspapers to obtain fair information. Fair managers should be aware of theyounger demographic and their reliance upon internet-based information sources.Expenditure differences varied between 2007 and 2011. Attendees in 2011, on average,spent more on parking than 2007 attendees, but less on souvenirs and “other” categories.Results of the 2011 profile should enable better-informed decisions as organizers work toexpand and enhance an already well-established base of support.UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA TOURISM CENTER 3
  5. 5. PROFILE OF IRISH FAIR OF MINNESOTA ATTENDEES 2011TABLE OF CONTENTSAcknowledgements .............................................................................................................................................. 1Executive Summary.............................................................................................................................................. 2Table of Contents .................................................................................................................................................. 4Table of Figures and Tables .............................................................................................................................. 5Introduction ............................................................................................................................................................ 6Methodology ........................................................................................................................................................... 6 Study setting ...................................................................................................................................................... 6 Questionnaire .................................................................................................................................................... 7 Approach ............................................................................................................................................................. 7 Response rate .................................................................................................................................................... 7 Analysis ................................................................................................................................................................ 7Results ....................................................................................................................................................................... 9 Respondents....................................................................................................................................................... 9 Demographics ............................................................................................................................................... 9 Primary residence .................................................................................................................................... 11 Repeat and first-time attendees .............................................................................................................. 12 Information sources ..................................................................................................................................... 12 Irish Fair experience .................................................................................................................................... 14 Time and duration of visit ..................................................................................................................... 14 Purpose of attending ............................................................................................................................... 15 Most enjoyable attributes...................................................................................................................... 17 Satisfaction .................................................................................................................................................. 19 Transportation .......................................................................................................................................... 19 Group composition ....................................................................................................................................... 20 Expenditures ................................................................................................................................................... 21 Potential admission charge ....................................................................................................................... 23Comparison of 2007 & 2011 respondents ............................................................................................... 23Discussion ............................................................................................................................................................. 26References ............................................................................................................................................................ 28Appendix A ........................................................................................................................................................... 29Appendix B ........................................................................................................................................................... 29UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA TOURISM CENTER 4
  6. 6. PROFILE OF IRISH FAIR OF MINNESOTA ATTENDEES 2011FIGURES AND TABLESFigure 1: Day respondents completed 2011 Irish Fair questionnaire (n=532) ....................... 8Figure 2: Percentage of 2011 Irish Fair of Minnesota attendees in various age brackets (n=483) .........................................................................................................................10Figure 3: Percentage of 2011 Irish Fair of Minnesota in pre-tax income groups (n=427) ............................................................................................................................................10Figure 4: Regional map illustrating 2011 Irish Fair of Minnesota residences (n=513) ......11Figure 5: Percentage of 2011 Irish Fair of Minnesota attendees using select information sources (n=532) ..................................................................................................12Figure 6: Attendance and contact day of attendees to 2011 Irish Fair of Minnesota (n=532) ............................................................................................................................................15Figure 7: Length of stay at the 2011 Irish Fair of Minnesota (n=456) .......................................15Figure 8: Main reason to attend 2011 Irish Fair of Minnesota (n=525) ....................................16Figure 9: Main reason to attend 2011 Irish Fair of Minnesota, by day (n=525) ....................17Figure 10: Most enjoyable attributes of the 2011 Irish Fair of Minnesota (n=528)................18Figure 11: Most enjoyable attributes of the 2011 Irish Fair of Minnesota, by day (n=528) ............................................................................................................................................18Figure 12: Satisfaction reported by attendees of the 2011 Irish Fair of Minnesota (n=522) ............................................................................................................................................19Figure 13: Means of transportation used by attendees to the 2011 Irish Fair of Minnesota (n=529)......................................................................................................................20Figure 14: Percent of groups attending 2011 Irish Fair of Minnesota containing selected age groups (n=532) ...................................................................................................20Figure 15: Distribution of spending on select categories among attendees of the 2011 Irish Fair of Minnesota ...............................................................................................................22Figure 16: Range of admission charges 2011 Irish Fair of Minnesota attendees willing to pay (n=532) ..............................................................................................................................23Table 1: Response rate to questionnaire among 2011 Irish Fair attendees.................................. 8Table 2: Demographic characteristics of 2011 Irish Fair of Minnesota attendees ..................... 9Table 3: Comparison of information sources used by repeat and first-time attendees to 2011 Irish Fair ..............................................................................................................................13Table 4: Comparison of information sources used across age brackets .......................................14Table 5 : Attendee expenditures at 2011 Irish Fair of Minnesota ....................................................21Table 6: Comparison of 2007 & 2011 Irish Fair of Minnesota attendee information sources ..................................................................................................................................................24Table 7: Comparison of 2007 & 2011 Irish Fair of Minnesota attendee demographics .........25Table 8: Comparison of 2007 & 2011 Irish Fair of Minnesota attendee experiences and expenditures ..............................................................................................................................26UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA TOURISM CENTER 5
  7. 7. PROFILE OF IRISH FAIR OF MINNESOTA ATTENDEES 2011INTRODUCTIONCommunity events and celebrations impact both residents and visitors. Residents andvisitors alike find an increased awareness and enjoyment of a place, and local pride towardthe culture and place is often enhanced. Additionally, festivals and fairs enhance exposure,awareness, profitability and image of the host community and can serve as a vehicle forother types of development (Felenstein & Fleischer, 2003; Getz, 1991; Hall, 1992;Nicholson & Pearce, 2001).The Irish Fair of Minnesota is one such event. The fair, based at Harriet Island RegionalPark since 2001, strives to provide attendees with a family-friendly, authentically-Irish, andfun event benefitting St. Paul and its surrounding community. As with any attraction,visitor profiles can assist marketing and managerial decision-making processes(Tkaczynski, & Rundle-Thiele, 2010). To maximize benefit to the community and enhancethe events themselves, organizers need to continually assess and evaluate their event andits market. Irish Fair of Minnesota recognizes this and embarked on an attendeeevaluation.In July of 2011, the University of Minnesota Tourism Center (UMTC) was contracted toprofile attendees to the 2011 Irish Fair of Minnesota. The 2011 questionnaire was thesecond such profile of Irish Fair attendees conducted in a 5-year span (the previousquestionnaire was conducted during the 2007 event). Attendee demographics, informationsources for the festival, experience and willingness to pay a potential admission chargewere of key interest. Further, analysis comparing the 2007 and 2011 data was conducted.METHODOLOGYAn on-site questionnaire was administered to attendees during the 2011 Irish Fair ofMinnesota.Study settingThe 2011 Irish Fair of Minnesota was held from Thursday, August 11 through Sunday,August 14 at Harriet Island Regional Park in downtown Saint Paul, MN. The fair offers avariety of activities for the approximately 100,000 attendees who attend annually: livemusic; Irish dancing; food and merchandise vendors; cultural areas; Irish-themedchildren’s activities; a 1K, 5K, and 10K run; a Gaelic sports arena; and a public Mass, amongother activities.UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA TOURISM CENTER 6
  8. 8. PROFILE OF IRISH FAIR OF MINNESOTA ATTENDEES 2011QuestionnaireAn onsite questionnaire was developed based on past research and with the assistance ofthe Irish Fair of Minnesota organizers. Questionnaire sections included event participation,enjoyable attributes of the fair, information sources, expenditures, group composition,satisfaction, mode of transportation, thoughts on a prospective admission charge, and basicdemographics (Appendix A).ApproachA sampling plan was created to reach the range of Irish Fair of Minnesota attendees.Sample schedules incorporated both time and spatial considerations to ensure coverageacross festival activities and grounds. A convenience sampling approach was implementedwhere volunteers asked passing attendees to complete questionnaires. UMTC staff trainedand coordinated volunteers who administered the questionnaire.Based on estimated attendance from previous years, a sampling quota target was set at 383attendee contacts (95% confidence interval; ± 5% sampling error rate).Response rateThrough three days of data collection, a total of 786 parties were contacted and 550questionnaires obtained, resulting in a 70.0% compliance rate (Table 1). A total of 18questionnaires were unusable, thus 532 questionnaires were used for analysis. Slightly lessthan half (46.1%) of respondents were contacted on Saturday (Figure 1). Among those whorefused to participate, the most frequently specified reason was lack of interest (56.8%).AnalysisCompleted questionnaires were entered, cleaned and checked in SPSS version 19.0.Analysis provided means, medians, standard deviations, and frequencies to describe thesample of fair attendees and provide information on variables of interest. Comparativeanalysis between 2007 and 2011 was conducted using t-tests to compare means and chi-squares (χ2) to compare categorical variables.UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA TOURISM CENTER 7
  9. 9. PROFILE OF IRISH FAIR OF MINNESOTA ATTENDEES 2011Table 1 Response rate to questionnaire among 2011 Irish Fair attendees Frequency (n) Friday Saturday Sunday OverallPeople contacted 187 304 295 786Declined to participate 52 51 133 236 Gender: Female 28 29 67 124 Male 24 22 65 111 Reason given: Lack of interest 33 17 84 134 In a hurry 12 23 21 56 Other 3 5 12 20 Already completed 3 4 10 17 Too hot 0 1 4 5 English as second language 1 1 2 4Compliance rate 72% 83% 55% 70% Sunday Friday 29% 25% Saturday 46%Figure 1 Day respondents completed 2011 Irish Fair questionnaire (n=532)UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA TOURISM CENTER 8
  10. 10. PROFILE OF IRISH FAIR OF MINNESOTA ATTENDEES 2011RESULTSRespondentsDemographicsMore than half (53.1%) of respondents were female and the attendee average age was 43years (M =43.4, Mdn=43.0, SD =15.86; Table 2; Figure 2). A majority of respondents wereWhite (89.1%) and from non-Hispanic or non-Latino ethnic backgrounds (97.5%).Furthermore, a majority of respondents were of Irish descent (69.3%). The most frequentlyreported annual pre-tax household income was between $50,000 and $74,999 (Figure 3).Table 2 Demographic characteristics of 2011 Irish Fair of Minnesota attendees Frequency Percent (%)GenderFemale 266 53.1Male 235 46.9Total 501 100.0EthnicityNon-Hispanic/Latino 434 97.5Hispanic/Latino 11 2.5Total 445 100.0RaceWhite 474 89.1Other 23 4.3Asian 7 1.3Black or African American 7 1.3American Indian or Alaska Native 5 0.9Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander 3 0.6Total1 --- ---Irish heritageYes 357 69.3No 158 30.7Total 515 100.01 Not applicable due to possible selection of multiple racial categoriesUNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA TOURISM CENTER 9
  11. 11. PROFILE OF IRISH FAIR OF MINNESOTA ATTENDEES 2011 30% 28% 25% 20% 20% 20% 15% 15% 13% 10% 5% 4% 0% 18-30 31-40 41-50 51-60 61-70 71 or olderFigure 2 Percentage of 2011 Irish Fair of Minnesota attendees in various age brackets(n=483) 20% 19% 18% 15% 14% 13% 10% 8% 7% 7% 6% 5% 4% 3% 2% 0%Figure 3 Percentage of 2011 Irish Fair of Minnesota in pre-tax income groups (n=427)UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA TOURISM CENTER 10
  12. 12. PROFILE OF IRISH FAIR OF MINNESOTA ATTENDEES 2011Primary residenceRespondents’ predominately resided in the Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area, asindicated by a centroid analysis of their zip code from the event. A majority (80%) ofrespondents’ primary residence was zero to 25 miles from Harriet Island Regional Park:38% live within 10 miles and 44% lived between 11 and 25 miles (Figure 4).Approximately 15% of respondents resided 50 or more miles from Harriet Island RegionalPark.Figure 4 Regional map illustrating 2011 Irish Fair of Minnesota residences (n=513)UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA TOURISM CENTER 11
  13. 13. PROFILE OF IRISH FAIR OF MINNESOTA ATTENDEES 2011Repeat and first-time attendeesThe majority of attendees reported previously attending the Irish Fair of Minnesota(62.6%). Previous attendees attended the Irish Fair an average of 5 times (M =4.7, Mdn=4,SD=3.5), most often as recently as 2010 (72.0%).Information sourcesRespondents heard about the 2011 Irish Fair of Minnesota most frequently through wordof mouth (47.6%; Figure 5). The second most frequently reported information source was“other” (25.6%). Among the respondents who specified “other” sources, those sourcesincluded: 11% family, 9% activity (e.g., rugby team, dance company), and 5% genericinternet sources (e.g., Google). Fewer respondents heard about the Irish Fair of Minnesotathrough newspapers (16%), local Irish bars and restaurants (10%), television (8%), radio(7%), and a variety of internet sources (Irish Fair webpage, 11%; Facebook, 7%; Twitter,1%; and Four Square, 1%).Interesting differences emerged when comparing the information sources used by first-time and repeat attendees (Table 3). Repeat attendees were significantly more likely to usenearly all sources of information, but were especially more likely to rely on Irish-community sources such as local Irish bars and restaurants, the Irish Fair webpage, and theIrish Gazette. Four Sqaure 1% Twitter 1% Vita.mn Ad 1% Poster/flyer 5% Irish Gazette 6% Facebook 7% Radio 7% TV 8% Pioneer Press 9% Irish bar/restaurant 10% Irish Fair webpage 11% Newspaper 16% Other 26% Word of mouth 47% 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50%Figure 5 Percentage of 2011 Irish Fair of Minnesota attendees using select informationsources (n=532)UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA TOURISM CENTER 12
  14. 14. PROFILE OF IRISH FAIR OF MINNESOTA ATTENDEES 2011Table 3 Comparison of information sources used by repeat and first-time attendees to2011 Irish Fair (n=532) Percentage (%) using source Statistics Repeat attendee 1st-time attendeeInformation source (n=326) (n=195) χ2 Sig.Word of mouth 48.5 43.6 1.166 0.280Other 24.2 27.7 0.768 0.381Newspaper 19.0 10.8 6.200 0.013 *Pioneer Press 10.1 5.6 3.170 0.075Irish Fair Webpage 15.0 5.6 10.557 0.001 ***Irish Bar/Restaurant 12.0 6.2 4.663 0.031 *Irish Gazette 8.9 1.0 13.505 0.000 ***Radio 8.3 4.6 2.551 0.110TV 7.1 10.3 1.651 0.199Facebook 7.1 6.2 0.158 0.691Poster/Flyer 7.1 2.6 4.839 0.028 *Vita.mn 1 1.2 1.5 --- ---Twitter 1 0.9 0.0 --- ---Four Square 1 0.9 0.0 --- ---1 Response too low for statistical comparison. * p ≤ .05. ** p ≤ .01. *** p ≤ .001In addition to varying by repeat and first-time attendees, information source use varied byage brackets (Table 4). Those 51 years and older were significantly more likely to usenewspapers in general, specifically the Pioneer Press. Younger generations (ages 18-40)were more likely to use online resources (i.e. the Irish Fair Webpage and Facebook) thantraditional media outlets such as newspapers, television, and the radio.UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA TOURISM CENTER 13
  15. 15. PROFILE OF IRISH FAIR OF MINNESOTA ATTENDEES 2011Table 4 Comparison of information sources used across age brackets (n=483) Percentage (%) of age bracket using source Statistics 18-30 31-40 41-50 51-60 61+Information source (n=137) (n=74) (n=95) (n=63) (n=80) χ2 Sig.Word of mouth 52.6 45.9 42.1 42.3 42.5 3.88 .423Other 27.7 23.0 30.5 24.7 22.5 2.161 .706Newspaper 5.1 9.5 13.7 32.0 25.0 37.735 .000 ***Irish Fair Webpage 10.9 14.9 5.3 11.3 12.5 4.577 .334Irish Bar/Restaurant 9.5 12.2 9.5 6.2 6.3 2.674 .614Pioneer Press 5.8 4.1 8.4 11.3 15.0 8.284 .082TV 6.6 4.1 8.4 10.3 12.5 4.672 .323Radio 5.1 6.8 6.3 6.2 10.0 2.029 .730Facebook 7.3 12.2 5.3 4.1 1.3 9.283 .054Irish Gazette 2.9 5.4 3.2 11.3 5.0 9.337 .053Poster/Flyer1 3.6 5.4 7.4 6.2 3.8 --- ---Vitamin Ad1 2.2 2.7 1.1 0.0 0.0 --- ---Twitter1 0.7 0.0 0.0 1.0 0.0 --- ---Four Square1 0.7 0.0 1.1 0.0 0.0 --- ---1 Response too low for statistical comparison. * p ≤ .05. ** p ≤ .01. *** p ≤ .001Irish Fair experienceTime and duration of visitThe majority of respondents reported attending the fair on Saturday. When respondentswere asked what days of the 2011 Irish Fair of Minnesota they attended and/or planned toattend, 59% reported Saturday, 43% Sunday, and 34% Friday. Only 2% reported attendingon Thursday. Notably, the distribution of days attended may be skewed due to the highpercentage of respondents who were contacted on Saturday (Figure 6).UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA TOURISM CENTER 14
  16. 16. PROFILE OF IRISH FAIR OF MINNESOTA ATTENDEES 2011 70% 59% 60% 50% 46% 43% 40% 34% 29% Days attended 30% 25% Day contacted 20% 10% 2% 0% Thursday Friday Saturday SundayFigure 6 Attendance and contact day of attendees to 2011 Irish Fair of Minnesota (n=532)On average, respondents reported spending approximately 5 hours (M=5.39, Mdn=4,SD=5.75) at the fair, with a range of 1 hour to 32 hours. More than 40% of respondentsstayed 3-4 hours (Figure 7). 50% 43% 40% 30% 26% 20% 14% 9% 9% 10% 0% 1-2 hours 3-4 hours 5-6 hours 7-8 hours 9+ hoursFigure 7 Length of stay at the 2011 Irish Fair of Minnesota (n=456)Purpose of attendingReasons to attend the fair varied across a range of potential motivations. The mostfrequently reported “main reason” to attend the 2011 Irish Fair of Minnesota was “Tocelebrate my Irish heritage” (18.7%; Figure 8). Other frequent responses included becausethe attendee was or knew someone performing (13.9%), the live music (13.1%), theaffordability of the event (13.1%), and the recommendation of a family member or friendUNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA TOURISM CENTER 15
  17. 17. PROFILE OF IRISH FAIR OF MINNESOTA ATTENDEES 2011(13.0%). Very few people reported their main reason as children’s activities (1.7%), buyingIrish merchandise (1.7%), or the pub experience (1.3%).Respondents’ main reasons for attending the fair varied by day (χ2=32.16, p<.05; Figure 9).Respondents on Sunday were more likely to report food and beverages and live music astheir main reasons to attend. Conversely, respondents on Friday and Saturday were morelikely to cite the personal recommendation of a friend or family member and the Irish Fair’saffordability as their main reason for attending. Childrens Activities Buy Irish Pub Experience 2% Merchandise 1% 2% Food & Beverages To celebrate my 5% Irish heritage 19% Other 8%Attended previously 10% I am/know someone dancing/performing 14% Recommended by family/friend 13% Live Music 13% Affordable/No entry fee 13%Figure 8 Main reason to attend 2011 Irish Fair of Minnesota (n=525)UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA TOURISM CENTER 16
  18. 18. PROFILE OF IRISH FAIR OF MINNESOTA ATTENDEES 2011 Friday Saturday Sunday 25% 20% 15% 10% 5% 0%Figure 9 Main reason to attend 2011 Irish Fair of Minnesota, by day (n=525)Most enjoyable attributesAmong the fair attributes most enjoyed by attendees, by far the most frequently citedresponse was the live music (40.0%; Figure 10). Other most enjoyed attributes includedthe dance stage (14.0%) and the food and beverages (12.7%). The least frequently reported‘most enjoyable’ attributes were children’s activities (2.5%), the pub experience (2.5%),the Sunday-morning Mass (1.1%), and the Saturday-morning run (0.6%).Unlike respondents’ main reason to attend the 2011 Irish Fair of Minnesota, attendees’responses to most enjoyable attributes did not vary significantly by day (Figure 11).UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA TOURISM CENTER 17
  19. 19. PROFILE OF IRISH FAIR OF MINNESOTA ATTENDEES 2011 Childrens Activities Pub Experience 3% Mass 2% 1% Other 4% Cultural Area 4% Vendor Marketplace 4% Sports Area 7% Live Music 40% People Watching 8% Food & Beverages 13% Dance Stage 14%Figure 10 Most enjoyable attributes of the 2011 Irish Fair of Minnesota (n=528) Friday Saturday Sunday 50% 40% 30% 20% 10% 0%Figure 11 Most enjoyable attributes of the 2011 Irish Fair of Minnesota, by day (n=528)UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA TOURISM CENTER 18
  20. 20. PROFILE OF IRISH FAIR OF MINNESOTA ATTENDEES 2011SatisfactionThe vast majority of 2011 Irish Fair of Minnesota attendees reported being satisfied withtheir fair experience (Figure 12): 55.6% of respondents were “very satisfied” and 34.3%were “satisfied.” Only 6.7% of respondents were “dissatisfied” or “very dissatisfied.” 60% 56% 50% 40% 34% 30% 20% 10% 6% 3% 1% 0% Very dissatisfied Dissatisfied Unsure Satisfied Very SatisfiedFigure 12 Satisfaction reported by attendees of the 2011 Irish Fair of Minnesota (n=522)TransportationAutomobiles were the most frequently cited means of transportation among attendees tothe 2011 Irish Fair of Minnesota (Figure 13). Nearly 9 of 10 attendees arrived at the fair bya car, van, or truck (89.2%). Conversely, only 4.0% arrived by walking, 3.0% arrived viapublic transportation, and only 2.8% arrived by bicycle.UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA TOURISM CENTER 19
  21. 21. PROFILE OF IRISH FAIR OF MINNESOTA ATTENDEES 2011 On foot 4% Public Car, van, truck Transportation 89% 3% Bicycle 3% Motorcycle 1%Figure 13 Means of transportation used by attendees to the 2011 Irish Fair of Minnesota(n=529)Group compositionResults indicate the 2011 Irish Fair of Minnesota was an intergenerational and family-friendly event (Figure 14). A third of groups had members less than 18 years. Specifically,more than a fifth of groups (21%) had a child under the age of 12, and a tenth of groups(11%) had a child between the ages of 13 and 17. Almost half of all groups (46%) had anadult aged 41-59 years, and a nearly a quarter of all groups (24%) included someone overthe age of 60. 50% 46% 40% 35% 30% 26% 24% 21% 20% 11% 10% 0% 0-12 year olds 13-17 year 18-25 year 26-40 year 41-59 year 60+ year olds olds olds olds oldsFigure 14 Percent of groups attending 2011 Irish Fair of Minnesota containing selected agegroups (n=532)UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA TOURISM CENTER 20
  22. 22. PROFILE OF IRISH FAIR OF MINNESOTA ATTENDEES 2011ExpendituresAttendees of the 2011 Irish Fair of Minnesota spent money in a variety of categories (Table5; Figure 15) A majority of respondents paid for food and beverages (77%) and parking(54%). 30% of attendees reported buying souvenirs. Very few respondents spent moneyon off-site food and beverages (5%), lodging (2%), or “other” (6%).Table 5 Attendee expenditures at 2011 Irish Fair of Minnesota (n=532) Descriptive statistics of respondents Spent at least $1.00 spending at least $1.00Spending categories Yes (%) No (%) Mean ($) Median ($) S.D.Food & Beverages 77.1 22.9 34.1 30.0 27.7Parking 54.0 46.0 9.7 10.0 5.3Souvenirs 29.9 70.1 39.9 25.0 41.9Other 6.2 93.8 24.9 20.0 33.4Off-site Food & Beverages 4.6 95.3 37.6 20.0 31.8Lodging 1.8 98.1 169.9 204.5 96.7While only 2% of respondents spent money on lodging, the few that did spent an average of$170 (M=169.9, Mdn=204.5, SD=96.7). Beyond lodging, the highest average expenditurewas $40 on souvenirs (M=39.9, Mdn=25, SD=41.9), although food was a close second.UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA TOURISM CENTER 21
  23. 23. PROFILE OF IRISH FAIR OF MINNESOTA ATTENDEES 2011 62% 60% 28% 20% 10% 10% 7% 3% $1-5 $6-10 $11-15 $15+ $1-50 $51-100 $101-105 $151+ Money spent on Parking (n=287) Money spent on Lodging (n=10) 29% 30% 17% 16% 17% 15% 13% 12% 13% 10% 10% 6% 7% 6% Money spent on Food & Beverages Money spent on Souveniers (n=159) (n=410) 40% 33% 21% 20% 17% 16% 13% 13% 12% 8% 4% 4% 0% 0% Money spent on off-site Food & Money spent on "other" (n=25) Beverages (n=25)Figure 15 Distribution of spending on select categories among attendees of the 2011 IrishFair of MinnesotaUNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA TOURISM CENTER 22
  24. 24. PROFILE OF IRISH FAIR OF MINNESOTA ATTENDEES 2011Potential admission chargeA majority of respondents reported they would be willing to pay an admission charge tothe Irish Fair of Minnesota (approximately 69%). On average, respondents were willing topay $5.00 for admission, though there was a range of willingness to pay (M=4.97, Mdn=5,SD =4.06; Figure 16). 60.0% 54.7% 50.0% 40.0% 30.0% 20.0% 17.1% 13.7% 12.6% 10.0% 1.9% 0.0% Did not Zero $1-5 $6-10 $11 and over answerFigure 16 Range of admission charges 2011 Irish Fair of Minnesota attendees willing topay (n=532)COMPARISON OF 2007 & 2011 RESPONDENTSOriginal data from the 2007 profile was compared with 2011 data, where questions weresimilar. Differences in select information sources, average age, and select expendituresemerged.While differences on the “information sources” question between years makes directcomparison difficult, some differences are apparent (Table 6). In 2011, attendees morefrequently indicated they used non-traditional media to get information about the fair. In2007, for example, 12% of respondents used the radio as an information source whereas in2011, only 7% of respondents used the radio (p = .005). An even bigger difference can beseen in attendees’ reliance on newspapers. In 2007, 41% of respondents listed newspapersas a source of information whereas in 2011, the number of respondents listing newspaperwas 16%. Important to note, the 2007 and 2011 versions of the questionnaire listedUNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA TOURISM CENTER 23
  25. 25. PROFILE OF IRISH FAIR OF MINNESOTA ATTENDEES 2011“newspaper” differently; in 2007, respondents were given the choice to check “newspaper”and then allowed to specify between the Pioneer Press, Star Tribune, City Pages, or a localnewspaper. In 2011, respondents were given a choice of checking “newspaper” and/orPioneer Press (See Appendix A and Appendix B for questionnaires). This difference inquestion wording may impact the difference, but the percent using any newspaper-likeitem were low across the categories.Table 6 Comparison of 2007 & 2011 Irish Fair attendee information sources 2007 (%) 2011 (%) Statistics (n=395) (n=532) χ2 Sig.Irish communityIrish Bar/Restaurant 8.1 9.8 0.77 0.380Irish Gazette NA 5.8 - -Social communityFriends 32.4 NA - -Family 20.5 NA - -Word of mouth NA 46.6 - -Traditional mediaNewspaper 41.0 16.0 72.69 0.000 *** Star Tribune 21.8 NA - - Pioneer Press 9.9 8.5 0.55 0.458 Local newspaper 4.8 NA - - City Pages 4.8 NA - - Vita.mn NA 1.3 - -TV 11.9 8.3 3.37 0.066Radio 12.2 6.8 7.98 0.005 **Poster/flyer 4.3 5.3 0.45 0.502OnlineInternet 9.6 NA - -Irish Fair webpage NA 11.3 - -Facebook NA 6.6 - -Twitter NA 0.6 - -Four Square NA 0.6 - -Other 11.6 25.6 27.83 0.000 **** p ≤ .05. ** p ≤ .01. *** p ≤ .001Attendee demographics were similar between 2007 and 2001 (Table 7). Beyond the 2011Irish Fair of Minnesota attracting a slightly younger crowd (M=43.38 compared toUNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA TOURISM CENTER 24
  26. 26. PROFILE OF IRISH FAIR OF MINNESOTA ATTENDEES 2011M=47.13, p=.001), no statistically significantly differences were found in male-femalecomposition, Irish descent, ethnicity, or racial background.Table 7 Comparison of 2007 & 2011 Irish Fair of Minnesota attendee demographics StatisticsAge 2007 2011 t Sig. Sample size (n) 335 483 Mean (years) 47.13 43.38 3.48 0.001 ***Income Sample size (n) 329 427 Mean (bracket) 7.33 7.09 1.41 0.159Gender χ2 Sig. Sample size (n) 389 501 Female (%) 56.3 53.1 0.90 0.341 Male (%) 43.7 46.9 7Irish heritage Sample size (n) 386 515 Yes (%) 65.8 69.3 1.25 0.260Ethnicity Sample size (n) 364 445 Non-Hispanic/Latino (%) 97.8 97.5 0.07 0.800 Hispanic/Latino (%) 2.2 2.5Race Sample size (n) 395 532 White (%) 89.6 89.1 0.06 0.800 Other (%) 2.5 4.3 2.12 0.140 Black or African American (%) 2.0 1.3 0.72 0.400 Asian (%) 1.5 1.3 0.07 0.800 American Indian or Alaska Native (%) 1.3 0.9 0.22 0.630 Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander1 (%) 0.3 0.6 --- ---1 Sample too small for statistical comparison. * p ≤ .05. ** p ≤ .01. *** p ≤ .001Comparisons between attendee expenditures in 2007 and 2011 yielded additionaldifferences (Table 8). On average, attendees paid more for parking in 2011 (M=$9.71compared to M=$7.29, p<.001), but spent less on souvenirs (M=$39.91 compared toM=$50.87, p=.042) and “other” (M=$24.94 compared to M=$51.13, p=.05).UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA TOURISM CENTER 25
  27. 27. PROFILE OF IRISH FAIR OF MINNESOTA ATTENDEES 2011Table 8 Comparison of 2007 & 2011 Irish Fair of Minnesota attendee experiences andexpenditures 2007 2011 Statistics n % n % t Sig.Attendee experience Hours spent at Irish Fair 376 5.45 461 5.39 .22 0.828Average expenditures ($) Other 32 51.13 25 24.94 2.01 0.050 * Souvenirs 143 50.87 159 39.91 2.04 0.042 * Food & Beverages 251 31.78 410 34.13 -1.22 0.221 Parking 242 7.29 287 9.71 -5.88 0.000 **** p ≤ .05. ** p ≤ .01. *** p ≤ .001DISCUSSIONAn onsite questionnaire administered to 2011 Irish Fair of Minnesota attendees indicatedthe fair attracted a range of attendees from the local area who found a variety of the eventsenjoyable and were satisfied with the event. Further, given that more than two-thirds ofattendees are of Irish descent, it appears the fair is attracting its primary market. Themusic and performances are critical to its success, as are the food and beverages.While the degree of repeat attendees and satisfaction suggests that people will continue tobe drawn to the event, it remains unclear how a possible charge would impact attendance.The majority of attendees reported a willingness to pay an admission charge. However,almost a third of attendees either reported they would not be willing to pay a charge orrefused to answer the question. Additionally, 13% of respondents cited the fair’saffordability and/or no entry charge as their main reason for attending. Such resultsindicate the imposition of a charge would have at least a slight negative impact onattendance. Additional data collection and analysis will be needed to explore this questionin greater detail.The range of activities and offerings of the Irish Fair of Minnesota remains an importantdraw for attendees, as it did in 2007. People attend the fair for a variety of reasons, butcelebrating Irish heritage, the array of live music, and knowing or being a performer werethe most frequently cited. Once at the fair, people chose the live music, dance stage, andfood and beverages as the most enjoyable aspects of the fair. Such results suggest theimportance of sustaining and expanding these activities. Interestingly, higher numbers ofrespondents listed “live music” and “food and beverages” as the most enjoyable aspect ofthe fair rather than main reasons for attending the fair (40% vs. 13% and 13% vs. 5%,UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA TOURISM CENTER 26
  28. 28. PROFILE OF IRISH FAIR OF MINNESOTA ATTENDEES 2011respectively). Such discrepancy may indicate future marketing could focus on highlightingthe fair’s offering of authentic music, food, and beverages.Despite the near ubiquitous of the internet in everyday life, word of mouth still trumpstraditional and new media outlets as the main source of information for Irish Fair ofMinnesota attendees. This finding is consistent with past research (Salk & Schneider,2006a; Salk & Schneider, 2006b; Salk, Schneider, & Monson, 2005). Considering theimportance of word of mouth for repeat and first-time attendees alike, early planning andmarketing is key in order to allow ample time for information to disseminate throughoutsocial groups. Interestingly, despite the importance of word of mouth, very few attendeesreported using internet-based social networking (i.e. Facebook, Twitter) to findinformation about the Irish Fair of Minnesota. These online networks, however, are stillrelatively new for all but the youngest generations, and their importance is likely tocontinue growing in future years (respondents under the age of 40, for example, were morelikely to use internet sources than newspapers, television, and radio).The vast majority of people arrive at the Irish Fair of Minnesota via automobiles, with only11% of attendees using alternative means of transportation. In light of this finding, it is notsurprising that over half (54%) of attendees reported paying for parking. Anecdotalobservation found bikes locked to a variety of benches and other areas, so evaluation ofsufficient bike racks and information about biking to the Fair may be in order.The most frequent expenditure was on food and beverages, which were purchased by morethan three fourths (77%) of respondents. In light of recent research documenting theimportance of providing products and services unique to the festival, Irish Fair organizersshould continue their emphasis on providing uniquely Irish food, beverages, andmerchandise (Kim, Choi, Agrusa, Wang, & Kim, 2009).A comparison of expenditures between 2007 and 2011 attendees found 2011 attendeespaid more for parking but spent less on souvenirs and “other” categories. This decline inexpenditures may be due to the poorer economic conditions of 2011 compared to 2007.Future monitoring is advised to track this important indicator for fair organizers.On average, attendees spent approximately 5 hours at the Irish Fair of Minnesota. The fairtakes place during a usually hot time of year and efforts to keep attendees cool couldpotentially extend their stay (and make it more enjoyable). As an anecdote, volunteerscollecting questionnaires during Sunday afternoon, in particular, frequently reportedattendees’ difficulties and complaints regarding lack of sufficient shade at Harriet IslandRegional Park. Increasing attendee access to shaded tents and inexpensive water might bebeneficial.UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA TOURISM CENTER 27
  29. 29. PROFILE OF IRISH FAIR OF MINNESOTA ATTENDEES 2011Socio-demographically, attendees to the Irish Fair of Minnesota have not changed between2007 and 2011. With the exception of 2011 attracting a slightly younger crowd, all othersocio-demographic characteristics remained statistically unchanged. While statisticallysignificant, a four year age difference may not be meaningful for event organizers.Monitoring attendee age may be of interest.Overall, measures included on the 2011 Irish Fair of Minnesota questionnaire suggestattendees had an enjoyable experience. The frequency of return attendees, levels ofsatisfaction, and willingness to pay a potential admission charge were all positive. Thisprofile, results of which suggest Irish Fair of Minnesota organizers already have a strongfoundation, should help facilitate future fair expansion and enhancement.REFERENCESFelenstein, D. & Fleischer, A. (2003). Local festivals and tourism promotion: The role of public assistance and visitor expenditures. Journal of Travel Research, 41(4), 385- 393.Getz, D. (1991). Festivals, special events, and tourism. New York: Van Norstrand Reinhold.Hall, C.M. (1992). Hallmark tourist events. London: Bellhaven.Kim, S.M., Choi, S., Agrusa, J., Wang, K., & Kim, Y. (2009). The role of family decision makers in festival tourism. International Journal of Hospitality Management, 29, 308-318.Nicholson, R.E., & Pierce, D.G. (2001). Why do people attend events: A comparative analysis of visitor motivation at four South Island events. Journal of Travel Research, 39, 449- 460.Salk, R.J., & Schneider, I.E. (2006a). Profile of 2006 District del Sol Cinco de Mayo Fiesta. St. Paul, MN: University of Minnesota Tourism Center.Salk, R.J., & Schneider, I.E. (2006b). Profile of 2006 Highland Fest attendees. St. Paul, MN: University of Minnesota Tourism Center.Salk, R.J., Schneider, I.E., & Monson, V. (2005). 2005 Meander visitor evaluation: Profile and possible improvements. St. Paul, MN: University of Minnesota Tourism Center.Tkaczynski, A., & Rundle-Thiele, S.R. (2010). Event segmentation: a review and research agenda. Tourism Management, 32, 426-434.UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA TOURISM CENTER 28
  30. 30. PROFILE OF IRISH FAIR OF MINNESOTA ATTENDEES 2011APPENDIX AUNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA TOURISM CENTER 29
  31. 31. PROFILE OF IRISH FAIR OF MINNESOTA ATTENDEES 2011APPENDIX BUNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA TOURISM CENTER 30

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