- Associated Press - Monday, August 21, 2017

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Illinois State Fair Grandstand officials say this year’s fair surpassed a record-setting number of guests in 2016 with help from its music lineup.

More than 58,800 people bought tickets for the Grandstand, up from 58,540 in 2016,The State Journal-Register reported . The previous high was nearly 57,800 in 1999.

State Fair Manager Kevin Gordon said part the success might’ve been because of the diversity of the Grandstand lineup.

Pentatonix, a three-time Grammy-winning group known for classic covers and a cappella originals, played to a crowd of more than 11,500 on Saturday. The largest draw for the fair was Five Finger Death Punch, a heavy-metal band that played to more than 13,300 people. Other musical acts included several country artists, an R&B; singer and a 1990s band.

“We hit the jackpot,” Gordon said.

Gordon said good weather also contributed to the high attendance.

But while attendance was up, some vendors said they have doubts that attendance at the fair was high.

Janet Johnson, a vendor for the fair, said the weekends were busy, but that crowds during the weekdays was low.

“It doesn’t seem people want to turn loose their money,” she said.

Jack Sturgeon, a vendor, said he continues to see lighter crowds and fewer people stopping for food.

Sturgeon said he thinks people having less disposable income affected the fair more than anything.

“It’s not the fair’s fault because they got the entertainment here,” he said. “If people don’t have money to spend on their family, they’re not going to spend it at the fair.”


Information from: The State Journal-Register, https://www.sj-r.com

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