State Fairs “Highly Unlikely” in Illinois in 2020 due to pandemic, says Governor

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During yesterday afternoon’s COVID-19 press conference, Governor J.B. Pritzker was asked if there was any realistic way a State Fair in Illinois could be held this year with the pandemic.

“I think it’s highly unlikely that we’ll be able to hold our State Fairs,” said the Governor Wednesday.  “I’ve been to the State Fairs, I think many people have.  You know that this will be many people packed together in buildings or even on pathways so I do not believe that we’ll be able to open the State Fair.”

The Illinois State Fair has been held nearly every year since 1853. It has been suspended on a few occasions, including 1893 when the World’s Colombian Exposition was held in Chicago.

In 2019, the Illinois State Fair set an all time record in revenue, bringing in over $6.5 million dollars.  It was a record setting year for grandstand tickets and total attendance as well.  Over 60,000 grandstand tickets were sold setting a record $2.3 million dollars.  Estimated attendance was 37% higher than 2018’s projections, bringing over half a million people to the annual event.

As of Thursday morning, this year’s State Fair had not been officially canceled by the State of Illinois.

The Macon County Fair board voted on to cancel their fair scheduled for June 9th in Decatur back in April. No other cancellations have been announced by local County Fairs to date.

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