The Illinois State Fair kicks off next week with the Twilight parade on Thursday, Aug. 9.
State Fair attendance for 2017 hit just over 500-thousand and State Fair Manager Luke Sailer says he’s hoping for even more… trying to bring in guests with new attractions like the fair’s first roller coaster and dropping beer prices from $5 to $4.
“Whenever you hit this fairgrounds it’s something that’s special. This is your state fair and we want all fairgoers to relish in that and celebrate that.”
The state approved 30 million dollars for repairs and renovations on the grounds. Sailer says that’s a “game changer.”
“What we plan on doing with that 30 million is going to the landscaping and the beautification of the Illinois State Fairgrounds drastically.”
The total estimate in deferred maintenance on the Illinois and DuQuoin fairgrounds is 180 million dollars.
The fair in Springfield runs from Aug. 9th to the 19th.
In a related note, a planned visit to Springfield later this month by former Vice President Joe Biden is proving to be a bigger attraction than expected.
Biden's visit on Aug. 16 is proving so popular that plans have changed to accommodate more people. He is keynoting the Illinois Democratic County Chairs' Association brunch at a Springfield hotel. The brunch kicks off the Illinois State Fair's Democrat Day.
The State Journal-Register in Springfield reports the 2,500 tickets for hotel's main ballroom has sold out. Demand for tickets has prompted use of a second room that holds 700 people.