Possible Explanation for State Fair Attendance Drop

Springfield, IL–The new manager of the Illinois State Fair says he believes the decrease in attendance this year was caused by inflated numbers in previous years.  First-year fair manager Patrick Buchen tells The Springfield State Journal-Register that he doesn’t necessarily think the numbers were “cheated” in the past.  But he says the Illinois State Fair has seen between 400,000 and 500,000 visitors annually for at least the past decade.  On Tuesday, Buchen’s office released attendance figures for this year’s 11-day fair.  Those figures showed over 411,500 people visited the fair from August 13th through the 23rd, more than 50% less than last year’s estimate of around 844,600 visitors.  Buchen’s predecessor says she and her staff used a formula that was in place before she was named state fair manager in January 2005.  The DuQuoin State Fair begins today and runs through Labor Day.