(The Center Square) – If things continue how they have been going with reopening the state, Illinois will get to have its state fairs this year.
After last year when both the Springfield and Du Quoin state fairs were canceled due to COVID-19, the businesses of Du Quoin are eager to see the fair populate the town’s fairgrounds again.
Du Quoin Mayor Guy Alongi said it’s a good opportunity to showcase the town and bring in tourism revenue.
“For the state fair itself and all the non-fair events, probably you’re looking at probably 75,000 to 100,000 people coming through Du Quoin every year,” he said.
Alongi said Du Quoin usually enjoys a trickle-down effect from a boost in sales tax revenues.
“I think the biggest benefit here in Du Quoin locally is filling up our motel rooms and filling up our restaurants and people buying gas and shopping in our community,” he said.
The loss of the state fairs last year was felt by many. Loss of revenue for the cities and loss of tourism business for local restaurants and hotels was only part of the picture. Alongi said it was also a loss for families with college students who often work the fair.
“You know there’s a lot of people who depend on those part-time jobs during the fair, there’s ten days of employment that the students get to work around the fairgrounds itself,” Alongi said. “And then there’s some adults also. That loss of revenue for those families trying to put their children through school, you know that’s a huge loss. ”
Alongi said he doesn’t know yet what the fairs will look like this year with COVID-19 still in the game, but they are looking forward to business restrictions easing.
“With the vaccine kicking in and the CDC easing up on some of the restrictions, hopefully by the fair, we can be at 75% capacity for our restaurant,” he said.