SPRINGFIELD — The Illinois State Fair adult admission fee increased $2 for a second time in three years.
The adult admission fee was $3 for 19 years, before it increased to $5 in 2009.
This year the adult admission fee increased from $5 to $7. The admission fee for children and senior citizens also increased this year, from $2 to $3.
The Illinois State Fair decided to increase its admission fees because state revenue for the fair has continued to decrease over the years.
“The General Revenue Fund continues to have a few issues and it’s tight economic times,” said Illinois State Fair Manager Amy Bliefnick. “The support through the General Revenue Fund has diminished over the years. This year we’re going to lose about $450,000 from the General Revenue Fund to the Illinois State Fair.”
Despite the admission fee increase, Illinois State Fair admission fees are still among the cheapest fair admission fees in the country, said Bliefnick.
“As we start looking at comparative analysis throughout the nation on different fairs and costs and rising costs, even with the minimal increase, Illinois State Fair will still be the lowest admission fee in the entire Midwest and one of the lowest in the nation, so we’re very pleased,” said Bliefnick. “The national average for adults is $9.05 and so with our increase to $7 to adults we’ll still be below the national average for adults. For senior citizens, the national average is about $6.50 and with $3 for seniors, we’re still way below the national average.”
To save money on admission fees, adults can purchase coupon books with 10 admission tickets for $45.
“If there’s a family or a group of adults of 10 or more, you can buy an admission for 10 adults for $45,” said Bliefnick. “Your admission would be $4.50 a person, so there are still ways to take advantage of opportunities to continue to keep the fair affordable.”
The 2012 Illinois State Fair that will be held August 9-19 at the Illinois State Fairgrounds, 801 Sangamon Ave., Springfield, will pay the same amount in awards and premiums at contests as they did last year.
“Although the General Revenue Fund is not going to support that (awards and premiums) this year, with the proceeds from admission and parking and all of the other income opportunities we have at the fair, we will continue to support the awards and premiums to the full extent as we always have,” said Bliefnick.
Through social media, fair organizers have been able to market the fair to more people than they have been able to in the past, without having to spend an unusual amount of money on advertising.
“We kept the same amount of budgeting in advertising and marketing,” said Bliefnick. “Luckily, with the Internet and Facebook and a lot of the social media, there’s an opportunity to market and to utilize the money we have and spend it in places we need to spend it.”
More than 817,000 people attended the 2011 Illinois State Fair. The attendance levels in 2011 were the highest since 2002.
To view a list of 2012 Illinois State Fair events, contests, attractions and concerts, visit www.agr.state.il.us/isf.