Du Quoin State Fair has budget trimmed, not cut

Some DuQuoin State Fair livestock events have been cut back
Some DuQuoin State Fair livestock events have been cut back

Du Quoin State Fair will see some cutbacks this year, but lawmakers say the cuts aren't as deep as they could have been as the state wrestles with a budget crisis.

State Rep. Mike Bost of Murphysboro says lawmakers decided not to cut the fair drastically because it brings in as much in funds to the state as it does fun to the fairgoer.

"We could shut down everything across the board, we could," Bost said. "But if you do, in the long term you lose those spin-off jobs when we're needing jobs."

Bost says not only does the fair create jobs; it also brings in a lot in sales tax.

"You've gotta figure all the hotels, motels, fuel, miscellaneous, not even counting all the vendors, odds are we're way ahead," said Bost.

That's why Bost says when legislators were going through the budget, line by line, the Du Quoin State Fair was spared, and its operating budget was funded to the same level as last year.

"You have to spend money to make money in this particular case, " Bost said.

"We do generate revenue, and anything that generates revenue is good for the state of Illinois," said Du Quoin State Fair organizer Norm Hill.

But the budget axe didn't completely pass over the fair. Hill says cuts passed down from the Department of Agriculture have cut into Ag-related events.

Hill says this year's fair will see fewer livestock competitions, the winners will take home less money and only kids will be allowed to compete. Adult livestock classes have been cut.

The purse that drew horses from all over the globe to compete on the Magic Mile was cut last year. The funding wasn't restored this year, so for the second fair in a row, there will be no World Trotting Derby at the Du Quoin State Fair.

Still, organizers say fairgoers will otherwise not miss a thing from years past. The Midway, the fair food, the live entertainment will all be at this year's fair.

"I think the fairgoers that come to the Du Quoin State fair are going to be very pleased," Hill said. "They're not going to notice any downturn, they're gonna see the things they enjoy, sounds, smells, sights of the fair. It's going to be great."

Copyright 2011 KFVS. All rights reserved.