DU QUOIN, IL (AP) - With one full week of the Du Quoin State Fair, vendors and local businesses are seeing the benefits of the big crowds.
Gabe Farj, the manager of Old Texas Soda Company booth at the Du Quoin State Fair, may have long hours to work, but he's not complaining.
"It's turning out to be a good crowd…we are looking at probably over 300,000 people coming in through the gates. It's a lot people, a lot of good people and a lot of good times and everyone is enjoying it," said Farj.
With the turnout this year at the Fair, the booth sees the benefits.
"I mean we definitely are doing well… we have a good deal – it's unlimited drinks. Refills for the day…you really can't beat it… and you're giving to a good cause, so we are looking good," Farj explains.
The cause he's talking about is Hurricane Harvey. Old Texas Soda Company booth is giving 50% of its proceeds from this weekend to American Red Cross disaster relief in Houston.
Another vendor from Texas, Debi Oxford, is also profiting from the large crowds.
"The weather has been on our side, we really escaped the rain from Hurricane Harvey and overall I can't say I've had any disappointments this year," said Oxford.
Even local businesses in the area like St. Nicholas Brewing Company are seizing the opportunity of the new visitors from these major events.
Abby Ancell, the General Manager at St. Nicholas Brewing Co., explains, "We are super thankful that we have the fair here…It brings us business, it brings other restaurants, it brings the grocery stores, it brings the gas stations. So yeah, it's always good to have those types of events in your community. To bring outsiders in, you know have them spend a little bit of money here."
She has seen an increase in foot traffic during lunchtime, thanks to events like the state fair and even the eclipse.
"Du Quoin State Fair or any event at the fairgrounds is important because it showcases our community. So even if we are not getting people from out of state, we are getting people from Southern IL that may not have a reason to come to Du Quoin," Ancell concludes.
The fair runs through Labor Day, which is also Family Day.