SHELBYVILLE, Tenn. –  The board of directors of the Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration has announced the price structure for box seats for the 67th world championship horse show as well as a new payment plan.

            Box seat prices will increase from 10-16%, depending on where they are in the main Celebration Arena.  The new prices will be reflected in the renewal notices

“You never like to have a price increase,” said Celebration Board Chairman John T. Bobo.  “Rising fuel and energy costs, among other factors, forced our hand.  Our customers expect a first class operation and that’s exactly what we want to deliver.”

Celebration box seat tickets remain quite a value when compared to tickets of other major events in the area.  Under the new pricing structure, the highest average ticket price will still remain under $15 with the back rows of boxes averaging around $9 per ticket.

By comparison, Tennessee Titans season tickets average $38 per ticket on the low end while the same package at Nashville Superspeedway averages over $31 per ticket.

The Celebration has been fortunate to have a highly-successful corporate sponsorship program that has brought in over $12-million during the past 20 years, which goes directly to the bottom line and offsets the need for more drastic price increases or reduction of services.

“Our staff does a good job in keeping expenses down and quality high,” Bobo continued.  “That’s not an easy task when you take into consideration that our physical plant is over 100 acres and contains about 85 buildings and two major arenas.”

The main Celebration Arena was constructed in 1948 and many of the older barns went up during the 1950’s.  While the facility has given many wonderful years of service, it takes a monumental effort by the Grounds Staff to keep the facility in the excellent condition that fans have enjoyed for over half a century.

For example, each year one particular area of the stadium structure is selected as an area of emphasis.  This year the south grandstand, which includes all 3,500 general admission seats, will be given a complete overhaul.  This process will include sandblasting, priming, painting, and general maintenance.  It is a project that will cost in excess of $35,000.  Additionally, approximately 8,500 of the 17,000 metal folding chairs for box seats were sanded, reconditioned, and painted at a cost exceeding $32,000.

While these are major projects, there is also quite a bit of expense dedicated to ongoing maintenance, vehicles, and other equipment.

“The board and staff are highly sensitive to price increases,” continued Bobo.  “We know that our customers want the highest quality event that we can produce.  They place a value on their tickets and we want to deliver a product that meets and exceeds their expectations.”

In a second major announcement regarding box seats, The Celebration has announced a new payment plan for box seat holders that will allow customers to pay in two installments instead of one lump sum.  Those wishing to make one payment will still have that option.

            The deadline for full payment will remain June 1.  In the past, renewals were mailed out on April 1, giving box seat holders 60 days to make full payment.  Under the new system, renewals will be mailed out February 1.  Those wishing to make installments will have 60 days to make a 50% payment and another 60 days to pay the balance.

            “We are well aware that it would be easier for many of our customers to make two payments on their box seats,” explained Celebration CEO Ron Thomas.  “Many people have had these boxes since our current facility opened in 1948 and we want to make sure they are able to continue to be part of this wonderful event.”

In addition, The Celebration reminds all box seat holders that the waiting list continues to grow at a rapid rate.  Those not using their boxes are encouraged to release their box seats so more people on the waiting list can be served.

“On a normal year, we will have 30-50 boxes come open,” explained Thomas.  “Last year, the last person to get an open box had been on the waiting list for over 13 years.  It’s a great problem to have and is a testament to our wonderful animals and how they are presented.”

The Celebration also reminds box seat holders that scalping of Celebration boxes is strictly prohibited and those engaging is this practice will forfeit the rental rights to that box.

The Celebration is an agricultural non-profit corporation that is governed by a 40-person association, out of which a seven-person board of directors is elected.  It has been crowning world champion Tennessee Walking Horses since 1939 and remains the longest continuously running event in the state of Tennessee.
The 2005 Celebration is slated for August 24-September 3 at the historic Celebration Grounds in Shelbyville, TN.  For more information on The Celebration and the many events that take place at the renowned facility, log onto