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County fairs want their money

Wednesday, Mar 14, 2018

* Press release

Illinois legislators and county fair officials gathered at the Statehouse to showcase the positive economic benefit county fairs bring to the state and urge the Governor to release $1.4 million in funding that was appropriated as part of the FY18, which passed last year.


According to a University of Illinois Extension Department of Community and Economic Development study, county fairs bring $170 million annually to the state’s economy and support 1000 non-fair related jobs. Jersey County Fair Treasurer Tom Moore says the county fair is still a hit in this part of the state.

* Fox Springfield

The $1.4 million would be split between more than 100 fairgrounds.

“It’s a small amount of money in the world of state government, but it’s a big amount of money to county fairs and it’s going to go to nearly every county across the state,” Iroquois County Fair president Marvin Perzee said. “And we encourage the governor to look at that area.”

Marvin Perzee runs one of the best county fairs in the entire state, by the way.

* Public Radio

The state legislature had initially pledged more than $10 million to help county fair officials maintain fairgrounds and buildings. But Governor Bruce Rauner’s administration held back some of that money in an effort to cut costs.

Margaret Vaughn directs the Illinois Association of Agricultural Fairs. She said the governor’s decision sent the wrong message to the state’s rural communities.

“People forget up north that Illinois is primarily an agricultural state, and since the beginning of the last century the State of Illinois has recognized the importance of this, to keep these fairs going, ” Vaughn said.

The Rauner administration says holding back some of the funding was a “tough decision to make.” Rauner has argued the budget lawmakers approved over his veto spends more than it takes in.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - A guy - Wednesday, Mar 14, 18 @ 12:01 pm:

    So easy. Approve the money. It’s a hit in 95 counties, and for the GOP, a love fest in nearly every place that matters to them.

  2. - Ron - Wednesday, Mar 14, 18 @ 12:03 pm:

    It’s not a lot of money, but why is the state even doing this?

  3. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Mar 14, 18 @ 12:06 pm:

    Rauner needed that county fair money to pay for his China/Japan “trade” trip that he didn’t take any ag reps on, even though they’re huge markets for corn, beans and pork.

    But check out the flair on that motorcycle vest, farm voters.


  4. - Anon221 - Wednesday, Mar 14, 18 @ 12:07 pm:

    Rauner’s off-shoring spends more money than that on 58 positions. And, I don’t think the ROI of those 58 has the same impact that the monies owed to the County Fairs would. Hard decision my foot.

  5. - Doug - Wednesday, Mar 14, 18 @ 12:12 pm:

    Iroquois county fair is not only one of the best in the State, it’s one of the best in the country

  6. - JS Mill - Wednesday, Mar 14, 18 @ 12:13 pm:

    =The Rauner administration says holding back some of the funding was a “tough decision to make.” Rauner has argued the budget lawmakers approved over his veto spends more than it takes in.=

    He did it because he had to, felt he owed it to them.

    You know, because he is such a big supporter of Ag and all.

  7. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Mar 14, 18 @ 12:20 pm:

    Rauner will show up to your fair, but won’t give you the Indy owed for your fair.

    Seems logical. That’s Rauner.

  8. - Pieroge tirebiter - Wednesday, Mar 14, 18 @ 12:22 pm:

    No DoIt IT pork at a County Fair. So why would Bruce be interested?

  9. - Anon221 - Wednesday, Mar 14, 18 @ 12:29 pm:

    I really hope that some reporters hammer(ed) him on this today at all of his ag stops.

  10. - Texas Red - Wednesday, Mar 14, 18 @ 12:34 pm:

    Big fan of the Sandwich Fair; for my money they put on the best event.

  11. - Lefty Lefty - Wednesday, Mar 14, 18 @ 12:35 pm:

    I just want Ms. Vaugn to know that the Kane and DuPage County Fairs up north here are go-to experiences every summer and we support her efforts to get this fixed!

  12. - Blago's Hare - Wednesday, Mar 14, 18 @ 12:45 pm:

    Our county fair has already booked a band for this summer…
    Petty Bruce and the Carhardtbreakers.

  13. - flea - Wednesday, Mar 14, 18 @ 1:10 pm:

    There are two categories of county fairs.
    A. County fair and exposition(8 in all)
    b. County fair (all the rest.

    The days of the cecond category of fairs in many counties bring no value whasoever to the community.

    They are unsustainable culturally and economically. They should either stand on there own fiscally, merge with adjacent county fairs, or cease. IMHO

  14. - Deadbeat is the new Conservative - Wednesday, Mar 14, 18 @ 1:11 pm:

    Rauner already has the county fair voter block even if he cuts off funds.
    They’ll want to vote against any democratic “collectivist socialist” running opposite Rauner no matter what.

    It’s a win-win for the “conservatives”. Fairmongers understand that fair money is a socialist program and it’s “pure” to cut them off.
    Rauner gets to spend that money hiring hacks.

  15. - Anon221 - Wednesday, Mar 14, 18 @ 1:35 pm:

    flea- “The days of the second category of fairs in many counties bring no value whatsoever to the community.

    They are unsustainable culturally and economically. They should either stand on their own fiscally, merge with adjacent county fairs, or cease. IMHO”

    Just a few questions for you-

    1. Do you or have you or your family members ever participated in a County Fair?

    2. Have you ever judged at a County Fair?

    3. Have you ever visited with the 4-Hers, FFA members, and other Junior Show participants to learn about their projects, their plans for the future, or their involvement in their local communities?

    I realize you ended your post with IMHO. However, if you answered “No” to any of the questions I posed to you above, please do some on the ground research this year at County Fairs in your area. For me, from an ag perspective, rural communities have been trounced on for years. Stamping out their County Fairs is just one more way to further shrink interest and involvement in rural communities. Also, if you have economic proof that these County Fairs are of no value and cost more than they are worth, please post citations for the rest of us. Until then, I’ll stick with the 2015 U of I Extension study- .
    More from the study-

    4-Hers perspective

    Poster presentation (you’ll have to zoom in and move around to read the data) -

  16. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Mar 14, 18 @ 1:41 pm:

    How many $billions does the state spend annually on school sponsored sports, and we can’t find $1.4 million for 4-hers.

  17. - Anon221 - Wednesday, Mar 14, 18 @ 2:04 pm:

    Rauner went down the “Because Madigan” rabbit hole at a presser this morning (Q&A at the Prairie Farmer’s 2018 Master Farmer Awards Luncheon in Springfield) about the Illinois State Fair, though.

    Even managed to work in a Mansion (”look what I funded”) throwdown on Madigan.

  18. - Trumpism - Wednesday, Mar 14, 18 @ 4:01 pm:

    =How many $billions does the state spend annually on school sponsored sports, and we can’t find $1.4 million for 4-hers.=

    Are trying to say that it’s not “fair”?

  19. - Just Me - Wednesday, Mar 14, 18 @ 11:38 pm:

    Rauner should just approve every penny appropriated and blame Mendoza. Let her figure it out.

  20. - flea - Thursday, Mar 15, 18 @ 8:22 am:

    I answer all three of your questions with YES. I have worked at fairs, for fairs and have been involved in that arena for over fifty years. My opinion differs from yours respectfully.

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