Fair Funding

There are rides, food, animals, and other forms of entertainment many people expect each year at the DuPage County Fair. But this year fair organizers have to try to produce the same product with a lower budget. State legislators cut funds to fairs around Illinois in an effort to reduce the state’s large budget deficit.

“Everything took a haircut this time around, and it was a tough thing to do,” said Darlene Senger, State Representative for the 96th District of Illinois.

Legislators cut one third of the DuPage County Fair’s budget for this year, and look to cut even more next year. Fair organizers say they’ve seen the cuts coming, and have been looking for ways to trim costs around the fair.

“We are trying to have things that will still entice them to be here,” said Ellen Sietmann, Fair Association Manager for the DuPage County Fairgrounds. “We’re having some tribute bands that will sound like the regular bands, but not the big name that we have to have a big cost to present.”

The money from the state represents about 20% of the fair’s yearly budget, and is used for fair related items and to maintain the grounds year-round, but the DuPage County Fair isn’t the only event held at the county fairgrounds. Officials say they have events just about every weekend, and sometimes during the week, including College of DuPage officer training.

“We try to keep it busy as much as possible,” added Sietmann. “That’s our extra source of revenue to help, so we’re going to have to work on that more.”

Fair organizers also plan to add several fundraisers in the next year to help subsidize their other sources of revenue. There will be an inaugural beer and wine tasting fundraiser the opening night of this year’s county fair. The fair runs from July 27-July 31.

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