Illinois State Fair Sets Attendance Record

Gov. Pat Quinn's office says this year's Illinois State Fair set record-breaking numbers.

Approximately 961,142 people attended the Springfield-based fair, up 5 percent from last year and marking the highest attendance since 2002, when 1.2 million people entered the gates.

“No matter how you add it up, this was a great fair and these numbers are good for the Illinois economy,” Quinn said.

Quinn's office said the biggest draw this year was the Grandstand music entertainment, which set a record for highest ticket sales in fair history at $2.03 million, well over last year's record $1.57 million.

Toby Keith was the most popular act with 9,367 tickets sold, surpassing Styx and REO Speedwagon by 144 tickets. The Associated Press reported last week that Keith was also one of the highest paid acts. He was among the three top performers who made $300,000 for his performance at the fair along with Journey and John Mayer.

Quinn, a fan of Keith's, proclaimed Aug. 14 as officially Toby Keith Day in the state of Illinois.

"Illinois is a leader in supporting the arts, and has always been an important component of the artistic fabric of our state," Quinn said.

This year the Illinois Department of Revenue collected $257, 584 in sales tax from vendors, which means fairgoers spent approximately $4.1 million while at the fair.

"The Illinois State Fair is always great for the local economy, but this year was the best in recent memory," Springfield Mayor Mike Houston said. "Visitors have a good time at the fair, local merchants benefit, and we get to help put on a great ten-day show. The Capital City loves the Illinois State Fair.”

The next Illinois Fair takes place Aug. 7-14, 2014.

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