Manure haulers, fireworks manufacturers and even the county fair queen can expect a check in the mail as the state begins processing vendor payments for the 2015 Illinois State Fair.
Records provided by the Illinois Department of Agriculture show the state owes more than 800 vendors over $4.8 million for services provided for the 2015 state fair. Among the vendors are performers.
Alisa Conboy sings for the Chicago-based band Seven Soul. She said it’s a dirty secret that younger bands in small venues get cheated, but things are usually different when there’s a contract. “You have a contract, you get paid. It’s pretty cut and dry, and this is the first time we’veencountered a situation where we didn’t. It’s a little shocking.”
Conboy said it’s no wonder Illinois has a bad reputation. “As someone who lives in Illinois, I find it ridiculous that the state can’t get its act together, and it’s no wonder people are leaving the state in droves.”
Conboy, whose band is owed $800 from the 2015 fair, said the band has been invited back and the members are looking forward to performing at the state’s biggest party.
Others vendors awaiting payment include the 2015 Miss Illinois County Fair Queen, Sadie Gassmann, who is owed $2,000. Fireworks manufacturer Central States Fireworks is owed more than $19,000, and Rex Evans is owed $208,000 for hauling manure.
The Department of Agriculture said the stopgap funding measure passed last month appropriates $6.4 million for the 2015 fair and the same amount for the 2016 fair.