DU QUOIN, IL (KFVS) -
Patrick Buchen, the new state fair manager for both Du Quoin and Springfield, made his first public appearance on Du Quoin's fair grounds on Tuesday, May 12.
The Illinois native said he's most excited about working with the people.
Buchen said he doesn't want to mess with the local tradition Du Quoin's state fair brings to southern Illinois, and said he's excited to help the fair expand by using outside resources.
"There's always going to be that local tradition here, that flavor of Southern Illinois," Buchen said. "I hope to bring some resources and some change that'll be good for the fair. So yes, we're going to keep tradition, but yes we are going to change some things."
While there weren't specifics on what those changes were, Buchen said he and the assistant Du Quoin state fair manager, Norm Hill, have been discussing what those changes would be.
Buchen said the future of growth in terms of revenue would not be the fair itself, but in non-fair activities and sponsorship dollars.
"Our non-fair revenue is our growth revenue and that's how we're going to get the money so we can put that back into the fair and we can make it bigger and better," Buchen said.
Buchen says the tool the fair can be for the voice of agriculture is huge.
"Agriculture, by billions of dollars, is the largest industry in the state of Illinois," he said. "So why wouldn't these two state fairs be that voice for agriculture, so that's kind of going to be our guiding light."
Buchen said one of the biggest challenges are capital improvements.
"With the state being in the situation that it is, we're going to have to develop tools that we can go out and build, public and private relationships," he said.
In terms of gaming expansion, Buchen said although he doesn't have any jurisdiction as to whether or not that will happen in the future, he said he hopes so personally because it'll give the horse industry in the state of Illinois a chance for growth.
While officials haven't released who the entertainment will be for this year's fair, they state they are ahead of schedule and that information will be released soon.
The Du Quoin state fair is August 28 to September 7.