The Economic Impact of a County Fair

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The Economic Impact of a County Fair
Zach Kennedy, Community & Economic Development - University of Illinois

Have you been to your local county fair this year. There is a pretty good chance that’s the case. Did you know in Illinois the county fairs create about 170 million dollars worth of economic activity. Todd Gleason does, and he files this report.

These agricultural celebrations are money makers…
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These agricultural celebrations are money makers knitted tightly into the fabric of rural America and its economy.

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The Community and Economic Development crew at the University of Illinois surveyed fair goers last summer to get an idea just how much they spend and why they go.

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Entertainment, of course is high on the list says Zach Kennedey.

Kennedy :08 …were there just for the food.

Quote Summary - We also found that they were there for anything ranging from doing activities to seeing exhibits. Some folks were there just for the food.

And those folks spend a lot of money… the biggest spenders live in southern Illinois averaging more than $200 a person for the run of the fair. The northern Illinois fairs bring in the most money - almost a 100 million dollars. But really, to be honest, going to the county fair isn’t so much about the money.

Kennedy :08 …of the things that folks said the fair meant to their family.

Quote Summary - The ideas of tradition, and unity, and educational opportunities rose to the top as some of the things that folks said the fair meant to their family.

The traditions are deep and the social fabric is colored by the 4-H clover. The county fair is time a to work hard and play hard with neighbors and friends and to share those experiences with others. Along the way, in the state of Illinois, the county fairs create a 1000 jobs and something approaching a couple hundred million dollars.