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2022 Illinois State Fair attendance sets all-time record; highest grandstand revenue of all-time

The Illinois State Fair has released estimated attendance totals for 2022. Over 636,700 visitors walked through the gates this year making it the highest attended fair since industry attendance calculations were put into effect, beating previous records also set under the Pritzker administration. Weekend attendance during the fair saw an increase of nearly 95,000 people over 2021.

The high attendance numbers are also reflected by the over $6.4 million in estimated revenue. While the 2022 estimated revenue figures appear to have fallen just short of the 2019 record of $6.5 million, it is important to point out that these are estimated figures. Percentage-based vendors have yet to begin their payment. It should also be noted two Illinois State Fair events generally held during the fair, the Illinois State Fair Rodeo and the Bettenhausen 100 will be held at later dates in 2022, adding to the overall revenue numbers.

“Once again, the Illinois State Fair was a resounding success,” said Gov. JB Pritzker. “Thanks to the leadership of Director Costello and Fair Manager Clark, thousands of Illinoisans and people throughout the nation descended upon Springfield for eleven days of exciting exhibits, delicious food, and community fun—all while honoring our state’s legacy of strong agricultural traditions. To every attendee: thank you for making the Illinois State Fair a part of your summer. Until next year!”

“The record attendance proves that the Illinois State Fair is more than an event, it’s also a reunion for residents from every region to gather and enjoy the businesses, exhibits, food and entertainment that make our state diverse and a great place to live,” said Lt. Gov. Juliana Stratton. “Thank you to all those who put in the work to make the Illinois State Fair amazing, and a must-do experience every year.”

A grandstand revenue record was set in 2022, with over $2.3 million coming in for the nine shows. 2022 eclipses the previous record of over $2.2 million set in 2019. Overall, tickets sold this year for the Illinois Lottery Grandstand came in fourth out of the last five years with 48,104.

“We were blessed with 11 days of great weather, which meant large crowds and even larger smiles for our fairgoers,” said Illinois State Fair Manager Rebecca Clark. “While it is great to have these amazing numbers, it was even better seeing so many people enjoying the Illinois State Fair. We now get back to work planning for 2023 and we hope to see you all back again.”

The 2023 Illinois State Fair is set to run August 11-21.

The end of the fair means the continuation of the $58.1 million capital investment addressing years of deferred maintenance on the historic state fairgrounds. Construction will resume on the Coliseum. Phase 2 will focus on an electrical overhaul, underground plumbing, new seating, new restrooms, an elevator and adding an HVAC system that will allow for heating and cooling of the facility. The anticipated costs for the Phase 2 of the Coliseum renovations are approximately $16.3 million.

Other projects slated to take place in FY 23 include:

  • $1.87 million: Roof replacements on the Junior Livestock Building, Sheep Barn, Hobbies Arts and Crafts Building, and at least three barns along the backstretch;
  • $11.9 million: HVAC replacements on the Orr Building, Illinois Building, Junior Livestock Building, Artisans Building, Hobbies Arts and Crafts Building, and Grandstand;
  • $2.994 million: Tuckpoint work in the Grandstand, Artisans, Hobbies Arts and Crafts, Emmerson and Block (IDOA headquarters) buildings;
  • $8 million: Road construction along 8th Street between the IDOA building and the IDNR building and along the backstretch on the northwest corner of the fairgrounds; provides funding to make structural improvements to the south pedestrian tunnel leading into the fairgrounds from Gate 6/infield parking;
  • $2.585 million: Energy improvement repairs for Block Building;
  • $1.7 million: Roof and HVAC replacement to Illinois State Fair Administration Building.

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