2022 Illinois State Fair “shatters” attendance record, more grounds improvements coming

The 2022 Illinois State Fair saw record attendance and improvement projects are underway for further success next year.

“Not only did we break the attendance record, I think we somewhat shattered it.”

Illinois Director of Agriculture Jerry Costello tells Brownfield more than 636,000 people attended this year’s event, surpassing the record of nearly 509,000 attendees in 2019. He says Agriculture Day attendance was up by more than 10,000 from the past two years and they also saw an increase of junior livestock exhibitors.

“There was an increase of almost 20% from 2021 as far as junior livestock exhibitors, which was incredible.”              

2022 Illinois State Fair Overall Attendance Numbers provided by IDOA

He says fairgrounds renovations have resumed to fulfill the $58.1 million capital investment.

“We had years of deferred maintenance, a situation where things just weren’t properly taken care of, to be blunt with you. I think we are at a point where we are overcoming most of that right now.”

Projects slated to take place in FY 23 include:

  • $16.3 million: Phase 2 of the Coliseum. 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
  • $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.

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

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