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Attendance increase for Du Quoin State Fair
Fair expands midway footprint


By Mary Weber

Photo courtesy of Southern Illinoisian

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The 2017 Du Quoin State Fair saw an attendance increase over 2016. According to the fair's preliminary estimates, 109,305 people visited the Du Quoin State Fair which is an increase of over 3,600 people from the previous year. Saturday, September 2nd was the highest attended day of the fair while the lowest attended day was Wednesday, August 30th. The fair attributes the attendance success to great weather and a broad grandstand lineup which appealed to all guests at the Du Quoin State Fair. 

Admission to the Du Quoin State Fair is just $2 for attendees 13 and older; all fairgoers 12 and under are admitted free each day. This year, the fair offered several discounted days to honor groups within the community. Free admission was offered on a College Night, a Senior Day, Veteran and Gold Star Family Day, aPhoto By Southern Illinoisiannd First Responder Day. 

The 2017 Du Quoin State Fair began as many other Du Quoin State Fairs have from year to year: with a ribbon cutting and Twilight Parade. The parade features floats, bands, and other units which reflect the theme for the year; the 2017 theme was "Generations of Fun." The marshals of this year's Twilight Parade were Randy and Kyle Drone: a father and son duo who own a company called Dinger Bats out of Ridgway, IL. 

The Grandstand lineup for the 2017 Du Quoin State Fair featured 9 concerts including: Nelly, Granger Smith, Chris Janson, Gin Blossoms, Roots and Boots Tour, Switchfoot, Dueling Pianos International, and Cadillac Three. 

According to Assistant General Manager Tibretta Reiman, Nelly was the best attended grandstand performance. For the first time, the Du Quoin State Fair offered a free concert in the Grandstand on the opening night of the fair. Chicago 6: a band made up of former Chicago Bears defensive linemen who travel the state performing classic rock hits graced the stage on August 26th. A total of 12,090 Grandstand tickets were sold over the course of the fair resulting in $292,736 in revenue. 

In addition to paid Grandstand entertainment, the fair offered several ground and strolling acts included in admission for fairgoers to enjoy. Cirque Extreme features acts such as the Globe of Death, Wheel of Steel, Aerial Extreme Swing, Tower of Chairs, and Aerial Fabric routines. 

Also featured at the 2017 Du Quoin State Fair was remote controlled micro-racing, The Alley Cats: a premier doo-wop group, and Hooper the Hypnotist. Butterly House and Magic Mike the magician also delighted fairgoers. "Each year, the Du Quoin State Fair strives to bring in new and unique entertainment for all ages to enjoy, while also making it affordable. When planning the 2017 Fair we looked for various types of free entertainment and activities for kids to enjoy in order to make this a family friendly event," said Reiman. "We also expanded the carnival's footprint and brought back the truck and tractor pulls, which were very well received."

The Du Quoin State Fair used Miller Spectacular Shows as their midway provider. One of the new features of the 2017 edition of the fair was expanding the midway footprint; this year, the midway featured an additional 8-10 rides for fairgoers to enjoy. 

Promoting agriculture is a main focus of the Du Quoin State Fair. Overall livestock numbers increased by 27% over 2016 entries: beef increased 25% and dairy increased over 42%. This year the fair included steer and goat shows to the event which were responsible for bringing in an additional 100 head between the two shows. 

Food is always a hit at state fairs and each year it seems that vendors bring something even more new and exciting. This year, according to  Reiman, rattlesnake and alligator bites were a huge hit. 

In order to pull crowds from all across the state, the Du Quoin State Fair team strives to advertise using many mediums. This year the media mix included billboards, television, radio, print, and digital advertising. The Du Quoin State Fair will return in 2018, August 24th-September 3rd.

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