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llinois State Fair Announces 2017 Attendance Numbers

Fueled by great weather, new attractions, and a diverse grandstand lineup, the Illinois State Fair experienced wide-spread success at this year’s fair. State Fair Manager Kevin Gordon is proud to announce that preliminary estimates indicate that attendance at the 2017 fair increased by 15.5-percent, while gate and parking revenue increased by nearly 10-percent.

“The goal of the Illinois State Fair is to provide family-friendly and affordable entertainment for our fairgoers,” said State Fair Manager Kevin Gordon.  “When we began planning the 2017 fair, we took a hard look at what more we could do to provide additional discounts for families who wish to attend this annual tradition.  As a result, we added a mid-week discount admission day and decreased the cost to park on the grounds. In addition, we sought to make a number of upgrades towards free entertainment, which included never before seen performers and entertainers.

Preliminary estimates show 401,648 people attended this year’s Illinois State Fair, an increase of approximately 54,000 from the previous year which was plagued by record floods, power outages and sweltering heat.  The highest attended day of the 2017 Illinois State Fair was Saturday, August 12, while the lowest attended day was Thursday, August 17.  The biggest increases in attendance year-over-year occurred on Thursday, August 10 (an increase of 14,544 attendees), Saturday, August 19 (an increase of 14,489 attendees) and Monday, August 14 (an increase of 13,009 attendees).

Gate and parking revenue estimates also appear to have increased year-over-year, largely thanks to the cooperation of Mother Nature.  Preliminary estimates show a 10-percent increase in gate and parking admission brought in during the 2017 Illinois State Fair.  As a reminder, in 2016 due to record rainfall the Illinois State Fair was only able to fully utilize its main parking lot (Gate 6) the first two days of the fair resulting in thousands of dollars in lost revenue.

Grandstand Record Broken

For the second year in a row, the Illinois State Fair has shattered the ticket sales record at the Grandstand.  This year, the Illinois State Fair sold a record 59,023 tickets with concerts such as Pentatonix, Five Finger Death Punch and Alabama leading the way.  The previous record was set in 2016 when 58,540 tickets were sold.

2017 also proved to be the second highest-grossing Grandstand lineup in State Fair history with ticket sales of more than $2 million.  With these impressive sales, the Illinois State Fair was able to re-coop more than 100-percent of its Grandstand entertainment investment.

Economic Impact

Annually, the Illinois State Fair provides a tremendous economic impact to the city of Springfield and surrounding communities.  “I’ve been attending the Illinois State Fair my entire life,” said Ag Director Raymond Poe.  “I’ve seen, first hand, the number of people this fair puts to work from inside the fairgrounds to outside the fairgrounds.  Not only that, but the people who come to the fair patronize our local restaurants, hotels, gas stations, and other area tourist attractions, which has a direct impact on our local economy.”

The most recent economic impact study conducted by the University of Illinois Regional Economics Applications Laboratory shows the Illinois State Fair contributes $86 million in business volume to the local economy.  This includes $35 million for wages and salaries and $2.67 million in state sales tax revenue.

About the methodology:

Attendance was determined based on the number of tickets purchased and turned in at the gates.  This takes into account anyone who contributed to the commerce of the Illinois State Fair.  As in previous years, 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.

Below is the attendance breakdown per day at the 2017 Illinois State Fair:

Thursday, August 10            34,555                                    20,011 (2016)

Friday, August 11                36,788                                    23,890 (2016)

Saturday, August 12            55,868                                    50,682 (2016)

Sunday, August 13              38,772                                    41,098 (2016)

Monday, August 14              25,866                                    12,857 (2016)

Tuesday, August 15             34,336                                    32,201 (2016)

Wednesday, August 16        29,672                                    32,058 (2016)

Thursday, August 17            25,053                                    23,675 (2016)

Friday, August 18                29,379                                    29,981 (2016)

Saturday, August 19            51,293                                    36,804 (2016)

Sunday, August 20              40,066                                    44,598 (2016)