Illinois State Fair Attendance Down

August 25, 2015
The work-in-progress 2015 Illinois State Fair butter cow is unveiled at the Illinois State Fair Thursday, Aug. 13, 2015, in Springfield.

The work-in-progress 2015 Illinois State Fair butter cow is unveiled at the Illinois State Fair Thursday, Aug. 13, 2015, in Springfield.

(AP Photo/Seth Perlman)

Despite ideal weather, figures show attendance at this year's Illinois State Fair fell by half.  The state says 411,500 people went through the fair's gates, versus the 847,000 who showed up last year.

Yet Illinois brought in nearly $1.4 million, just $55,000 less than last year.  The Department of Agriculture's spokeswoman notes that parking and admission revenue is audited, while turnout is not.

In a statement, the fair's new director says a strict methodology was used to tabulate attendance. He says he's proud of the fair, and its strong grandstand sales.

Gov. Bruce Rauner defended holding the fair, despite the state having no budget. 

He says it would have cost more to cancel, than to have continued. But critics questioned why Illinois went forward as social services are closing.

Story source: Illinois Public Radio