Illinois State Fair vendors see drop in attendance, sales

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Attendance and sales at the Illinois State Fair declined from last year, vendors said.

Vendors also said the mostly favorable weather didn’t help boost sales for the fair that’s seen a downward trend over the past decade, The State Journal-Register reported.

“We’ve had our busy nights, don’t get me wrong,” said Kelsie Vose, whose family runs the Vose Corn Dogs stand. “But I’ve heard from a lot of vendors, not just ourselves, but most of the vendors we’ve spoken to have all been on the same page about that. It’s not just us, it’s everybody.”

McMeen’s Taffy Owner Joan Ehlers said her family has sold taffy at the fair most years since 1924. She said her business is down 50 percent from 10 years ago.

“We’ve kind of hung in there, but the unfortunate part is that the attendance levels have been way, way off,” said Joan Ehlers.

Some weekdays were a little slow because of school and people working during the day. But weekend crowds were good, said Illinois State Fair manager Luke Sailer.

Fair officials said it’ll likely be weeks before official attendance numbers are released.

Photo Gallery