State Fair reports nine-year attendance high

State Fair reports nine-year attendance high

By ANDREW ADAMS
Capitol News Illinois
aadams@capitolnewsillinois.com

The Illinois State Fair – a multi-million annual agriculture festival in Springfield – reported a nine-year attendance record this year.

The state Department of Agriculture, which hosts the fair each year, reported on Tuesday that about 708,000 people attended the fair, an 11 percent increase from 2022.  

Department officials attributed the increase to good weather, renovations of fairgrounds facilities and a discounted admission fee for one of the fair days.

“When you’ve got to compete with a handheld device, you’ve got to up your game in terms of entertainment,” State Fair Manger Rebecca Clark told Capitol News Illinois.

Clark also said a new promotion – dropping the adult admission fee from $10 to $2 for one day – helped raise attendance for that day by roughly 27,000 people compared to the previous year, a 57 percent increase.

“The 2023 fair also greatly benefited from new promotions and big attractions aimed at bringing visitors to the fairgrounds mid-week to capitalize on discount admission days,” Department of Agriculture Director Jerry Costello II said in a news release.

Costello and Clark also credited recently completed renovations at the multi-purpose arena, one of the fair’s venues, for bringing people to the fair. This year, the arena hosted a monster truck rally, a demolition derby, a tractor pull event and a rodeo.

The $8.6 million renovation was completed earlier this year. It was funded through the state’s Rebuild Illinois capital program and is part of a broader $58.1 million plan for fairgrounds infrastructure projects.

The Department of Agriculture said they expect to work on other upgrades and renovations to the fairgrounds in the coming months, including $9.5 million for road construction, $11.9 million for heating and cooling system upgrades and $4.6 million for roof replacements.

In addition to one-time capital funding, the state has increased the amount budgeted for state fairs for four of the past five years. In both this year’s and last year’s state budget, lawmakers allocated $6.9 million for fair operations, a 25 percent increase from 2018’s allotment.

State officials were quick to celebrate the fair’s increased attendance, with Gov. JB Pritzker in a news release highlighting the “shattered attendance records,” but estimating the size of state fair crowds can be tricky.

The figures reported by the state represent several factors, rather than the number of tickets sold or a complete count of visitors.  

“Attendance is determined based on the number of tickets purchased and turned in at the gates,” Clark said in a statement. “In addition, a formula provides multipliers, based on national averages, to count visitors who cannot be tracked by a ticket due to the fair’s various free admission days.”

The department says this calculation method, which was adopted in 2015, is an industry standard. The change in the counting method contributed to attendance estimates dropping by roughly half the year it was introduced.

In 2014, the last year under its old crowd estimation method, the state reported 845,000 attendees, about 200,000 more than its figure for 2023. In 2002, the state estimated 1.2 million people came to the Springfield fair, according to state news releases.

 

Capitol News Illinois is a nonprofit, nonpartisan news service covering state government. It is distributed to hundreds of print and broadcast outlets statewide. It is funded primarily by the Illinois Press Foundation and the Robert R. McCormick Foundation, along with major contributions from the Illinois Broadcasters Foundation and Southern Illinois Editorial Association.

 

Leave a Comment





Local News

GSWNH_OLSLincolnTomb_052424

Learning history is fun, honest

Spread the love

Spread the love Seventh and eighth graders from Our Lady of the Snows School clamor to rub the nose of a bust of President Abraham Lincoln during a field trip to Springfield earlier this month. Rubbing the nose of the famous bust of Honest Abe–a part of the tomb of the nation’s 16th President–is said…

13th Ward Ald. Marty Quinn

Fight to save ShotSpotter is still alive

Spread the love

Spread the love. By Tim Hadac Editor Clear-Ridge Reporter & NewsHound (708)-496-0265 . As you have read several times in the Clear-Ridge Reporter & NewsHound, the people of Clearing and Garfield Ridge are clear in their support of keeping ShotSpotter technology deployed in Chicago, to help police fight crime. So I won’t go over old…

GSWNH_ColdPlanerSpitsAsphalt_052424

63rd Street getting a facelift

Spread the love

Spread the love. Quinn hails federally funded resurfacing project  . By Tim Hadac The old joke about there being not four seasons, but just two in Chicago each year—winter and construction—was apparent late last week as heavy equipment arrived in Clearing. As 13th Ward Ald. Marty Quinn and other city officials gathered for an outdoor…

23rd Ward Ald. Silvana Tabares

Tabares blasts Foxx over ‘no seizure’ idea

Spread the love

Spread the love. Brands State’s Attorney as ‘pro-criminal’ .  By Tim Hadac Twenty-third Ward Ald. Silvana Tabares this week blasted outgoing Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx over a possible change in how crimes are—or are not–prosecuted.Foxx recently said she is considering a plan to decline to prosecute weapons and drug crimes detected by routine…

GSWNH_OLSPrincipal_052424

School can get messy

Spread the love

Spread the love Second grader Weronika Kozielec squirts ketchup on the head of Our Lady of the Snows School Principal Christina Avis at a recent gathering in the parking lot of the school, 4810 S. Leamington. But the condiment was not all that was dumped on the principal. Students, faculty and staff laughed and cheered…

CRR_NH

Clear-Ridge Reporter and NewsHound May 22, 2024

Spread the love

Spread the love

Peggy Zabicki

Brother, what a day today is

Spread the love

Spread the love. By Peggy Zabicki Your correspondent in West Lawn 3633 W. 60th Place •  (773) 504-9327 . May 24 is National Brothers Day. The word “brother” comes from the Latin root for “frater” and the Proto-Germanic word “brothar” which itself comes from the Proto-Indo-European root “bhrater.”  I’m sure everyone already knows that, but…

Mary Stanek

May your Memorial Day be meaningful

Spread the love

Spread the love. By Mary Stanek Your correspondent in Archer Heights and West Elsdon 3808 W. 57th Place •  (773) 517-7796 . I hope we all will have a meaningful Memorial Day. Let us remember that this day is set to honor military personnel who died in service of their country. Memorial Day also marks…

volleyball

Boys Volleyball | Sandburg seeks 26th regional title

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Randy Whalen Correspondent Coming off the worst season in program history in 2023, Sandburg was not going to settle for anything less than better results this year. Past the midway point of this season, however, the Eagles had a record of 11-8. But they closed the regular season strong, winning 11 of…

Reavis players celebrate after the Rams clinched the South Suburban Red title with a 3-0 win over Oak Lawn. Photo by Xavier Sanchez

Baseball | Red-hot Reavis looks to make noise in postseason

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Xavier Sanchez Correspondent Reavis is determined to send their head coach Don Erickson into retirement on a high note and will head into the postseason red hot and as South Suburban Red champions. The Rams defeated Oak Lawn 3-0 for the second straight day on May 15 to clinch the conference title.…

Neighbors

GSWNH_OLSLincolnTomb_052424

Learning history is fun, honest

Spread the love

Spread the love Seventh and eighth graders from Our Lady of the Snows School clamor to rub the nose of a bust of President Abraham Lincoln during a field trip to Springfield earlier this month. Rubbing the nose of the famous bust of Honest Abe–a part of the tomb of the nation’s 16th President–is said…

13th Ward Ald. Marty Quinn

Fight to save ShotSpotter is still alive

Spread the love

Spread the love. By Tim Hadac Editor Clear-Ridge Reporter & NewsHound (708)-496-0265 . As you have read several times in the Clear-Ridge Reporter & NewsHound, the people of Clearing and Garfield Ridge are clear in their support of keeping ShotSpotter technology deployed in Chicago, to help police fight crime. So I won’t go over old…

GSWNH_ColdPlanerSpitsAsphalt_052424

63rd Street getting a facelift

Spread the love

Spread the love. Quinn hails federally funded resurfacing project  . By Tim Hadac The old joke about there being not four seasons, but just two in Chicago each year—winter and construction—was apparent late last week as heavy equipment arrived in Clearing. As 13th Ward Ald. Marty Quinn and other city officials gathered for an outdoor…

23rd Ward Ald. Silvana Tabares

Tabares blasts Foxx over ‘no seizure’ idea

Spread the love

Spread the love. Brands State’s Attorney as ‘pro-criminal’ .  By Tim Hadac Twenty-third Ward Ald. Silvana Tabares this week blasted outgoing Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx over a possible change in how crimes are—or are not–prosecuted.Foxx recently said she is considering a plan to decline to prosecute weapons and drug crimes detected by routine…

GSWNH_OLSPrincipal_052424

School can get messy

Spread the love

Spread the love Second grader Weronika Kozielec squirts ketchup on the head of Our Lady of the Snows School Principal Christina Avis at a recent gathering in the parking lot of the school, 4810 S. Leamington. But the condiment was not all that was dumped on the principal. Students, faculty and staff laughed and cheered…

CRR_NH

Clear-Ridge Reporter and NewsHound May 22, 2024

Spread the love

Spread the love

Peggy Zabicki

Brother, what a day today is

Spread the love

Spread the love. By Peggy Zabicki Your correspondent in West Lawn 3633 W. 60th Place •  (773) 504-9327 . May 24 is National Brothers Day. The word “brother” comes from the Latin root for “frater” and the Proto-Germanic word “brothar” which itself comes from the Proto-Indo-European root “bhrater.”  I’m sure everyone already knows that, but…

Mary Stanek

May your Memorial Day be meaningful

Spread the love

Spread the love. By Mary Stanek Your correspondent in Archer Heights and West Elsdon 3808 W. 57th Place •  (773) 517-7796 . I hope we all will have a meaningful Memorial Day. Let us remember that this day is set to honor military personnel who died in service of their country. Memorial Day also marks…

volleyball

Boys Volleyball | Sandburg seeks 26th regional title

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Randy Whalen Correspondent Coming off the worst season in program history in 2023, Sandburg was not going to settle for anything less than better results this year. Past the midway point of this season, however, the Eagles had a record of 11-8. But they closed the regular season strong, winning 11 of…

Reavis players celebrate after the Rams clinched the South Suburban Red title with a 3-0 win over Oak Lawn. Photo by Xavier Sanchez

Baseball | Red-hot Reavis looks to make noise in postseason

Spread the love

Spread the loveBy Xavier Sanchez Correspondent Reavis is determined to send their head coach Don Erickson into retirement on a high note and will head into the postseason red hot and as South Suburban Red champions. The Rams defeated Oak Lawn 3-0 for the second straight day on May 15 to clinch the conference title.…