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Good Question: Are State Fair Big Ticket Items A Good Deal?

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(credit: CBS) Jason DeRusha
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FALCON HEIGHTS, Minn. (WCCO) – Most of us save up to buy a second order of cheese curds at the Minnesota State Fair.

But dropping thousands of dollars on a hot tub or fireplace, windows or even a truck?

Are big-ticket items really a good deal at the fair?

It depends, of course, but our survey of a number of items shows you aren’t going to get a bad deal. However, you may not be getting a significantly better deal than you’d get in the store.

At Fireside Hearth & Home, salespeople tell us they don’t sell a lot of fireplaces at the fair. Rather, they’re there to make connections and increase awareness of the brand.

They advertise a “MN Fair Sale” which features up to $500 fireplaces, inserts and stoves. But that sale lasts until September 23, two weeks after the fair ends, and the deals are all available in the stores.

Renewal By Anderson has a huge window and door showroom on the fairgrounds. But they aren’t selling any windows. Paul Delahunt is president of Renewal By Anderson.

“During ten days, we’ll set, like, 750 appointments. And a certain percentage of those people will buy,” Delahunt said.

He said the State Fair is “good business” for his company, with the huge exposure to potential customers. But Delahunt said the advertised “State Fair” deals are about as good as their other seasonal sales.

“It’s one of the good sales, but we add a sweetener. There’s a drawing or contest where you can win $100 to $200 additional off your project,” he said.

You probably don’t think of the main floor of the grandstand as a good place to buy a mattress. But according to Nicholas Holmes of Sleep Number, they ring up sales in the millions of dollars.

“Certainly the offers here are as good if not better than year-round,” Holmes said.

The mattresses start at $600, but can sell for $2,000 – $5,000.

But the beds are at savings that run between $100- $500. For example, one of their beds is $5,000 at full-price. At the fair, it’s at 50%, so $2,500. In stores now, it’s at 40%, and that’s $3,000.

We checked pianos for sale in the Grandstand, and the salesman said the prices were the same at the fair as they were in store.

On Machinery Hill, Crysteel Truck Equipment actually sold a nearly $60,000 used truck. The deals there are “a little better” than the deals in the store, said salesman Roy Amundson.

‘We’re still in business to make a profit, obviously,” he added.

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