DU QUOIN, IL (KFVS) - Governor Pat Quinn announced Friday, September 13 that attendance at the DuQuoin State Fair was up 20 percent over last year's fair, and that several new one-day attendance records were set.
More than 365,000 fairgoers passed through the gates this year, and the southern Illinois showcase had its highest-ever numbers the first two days of its Aug. 23 through Sept. 2 run.
"I could tell when I was there on opening night that this year's fair was going to be special," Governor Quinn said. "The DuQuoin State Fair had its strongest start and one of its strongest finishes, and I hope everyone who attended will come back next year and bring some friends."
The 91st fair began with its largest opening crowd on record, with more than 50,000 people turning out on Friday, Aug. 23. That was followed by an all-time one-day record crowd of 65,000 people on Saturday, Aug. 24.
"Waves of people just kept coming on opening night," said Fair Manager John Rednour, Jr. "By the end of the night — when the Uncle Kracker show was finished — we knew something special had taken place."
Nearly 7,000 people turned out to see the Gretchen Wilson concert on Aug. 28, one of the largest crowds to ever see a concert at the Grandstand, and overall attendance swelled to 45,000 that day, a remarkable number for the middle of the week.
The fair finished strong with car racing and a free show in the beer tent by Aaron Tippin.
Company picnics also played a role in boosting fair attendance, including thousands of employees and family members turning out for both the Continental Tire and Knight Hawk Coal company picnics.
"Weather always has a lot to do with the success of a fair," Rednour said. "Southern Illinois enjoyed considerably cooler temperatures all summer but it certainly warmed way up once the fair started. Had there been a break in the heat on any of the three hottest days, we would have been talking about an all-time record attendance for the 2013 fair."
Planning will begin almost immediately for next year's fair, which will be held Aug. 22 through Sept. 1, 2014.