SPRINGFIELD – The 2022 Illinois State Fair set an all-time attendance record with more than 636,700 visitors.
Weekend attendance increased by 95,000 from one year ago. Attendance topped 2021 overall by more than 160,000 and 2019 by more than 127,000. There was no fair in 2020 for the first time since World War II due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The 2022 fair brought in $6.4 million in estimated revenue, which could be amended upward as more vendors report earnings, according to a news release. As it stands, it’s just off a record of $6.5 million set in 2019.
Grandstand events brought in $2.3 million in revenue, up from the previous record of $2.2 million. There were 48,104 grandstand tickets sold, putting this year’s events fourth out of the past five in ticket sales.
“We were blessed with 11 days of great weather, which meant large crowds and even larger smiles for our fairgoers,” Illinois State Fair Manager Rebecca Clark said in a news release. “While it is great to have these amazing numbers, it was even better seeing so many people enjoying the Illinois State Fair.”
The news release noted $58.1 million in construction at the fairgrounds will pick back up with the fair concluded. The renovations are funded by the state’s Rebuild Illinois capital infrastructure program, including $8.6 million in work on the multipurpose arena, which was closed this year due to the renovations.
The 122-year-old coliseum at the fairgrounds saw renovations for its structural integrity in 2019, while Phase 2 construction at the facility will include $16.3 million in electrical and plumbing work, as well as the addition of an elevator and an HVAC system among other construction.
Department of Agriculture Director Jerry Costello said before the fair the HVAC system will allow for year-round use of the coliseum, which could mean an expansion of dog shows or other events. In 2025, the fairgrounds will host the World Clydesdale Show.