The annual celebration of agriculture in Illinois is often a money-loser. Illinois State Fair manager Amy Bliefnick says that is only part of the story. “We had an economic impact study done with the University of Illinois last year,” says Bliefnick, pointing to a “$45 million economic benefit to the city and state from the Illinois State Fair when you talk about jobs, spending money on hotels and gas and other things that are reciprocal.”
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Bliefnick says “weather is king,”which may have led to 2011’s strong attendance total, the highest since the record year of 2002, which was the last year more than a million people came.
The 2011 figure was 815,000. The 2002 figure was 1,264,750.