County fairs celebrate agriculture, but they’re also a harvest of cash, according to a new report. As state funding shrinks, the Illinois Association of Agricultural Fairs turned to the University of Illinois for help making its case. The U of I Extension has completed a study of the economic impact of the fairs.
Extension graduate researcher Alex Norr calculates the county fairs of Illinois mean a $170 million boost to the economy, $80 million of which is spent outside the fairgrounds.
Click Here for Summary
“We asked questions regarding where people were spending their money, and how much,” Norr said. What’s more, “in addition to this economic engine,” Norr adds, “it was found that the county fairs increase the socialization aspect to the community.”
“Our funding has been cut probably 40-60 percent through the last three or four years,” says IAAF president Ron Meyer, who is president of the Will County Fair. “Hopefully, with the results of this study, we can maybe stop the bleeding and hold our own.”