IL State Fair Initiates Survey to Improve Future Fairs


Attendance at the Springfield, Illinois 2016 State Fair dropped by more than 13% on a year-to-year basis. While severe weather events – heading by a flood-level cloudburst on the night of a key scheduled musical concert – were blamed for part of the attendance shortfall the overall numbers indicated growing problems with bringing in fair-going customers and exhibitors this year. Springfield fair attendance fell from 411,547 in 2015 to 357,409 in 2016.

The Illinois Department of Agriculture, which operates the Illinois State Fair, has begun an 80,000-recipient survey. A wide variety of selected Fair attendees are being sent online questionnaires intended to gather data about their State Fair visit. Questions include the recent hike in State Fair admission ticket prices. People who get the survey will be asked to rate their State Fair experience, including exhibits, entertainment, and food. Respondents will also be asked to help the State Fair understand how many miles people travelled to attend the Fair, how many tickets were bought by a household, and whether a ticketholder also visited the Fair on a different day.

Results from the survey will be used to help shape future State Fairs. One of the biggest challenges facing the Fair is the infrastructure of the buildings and grounds that house most of the Fair’s activities.

Illinois Department of Transportation Shares Winter Driving Tips

Be sure to keep in mind the need to drive defensively when driving near snowplowing machinery, likely spots for road ice appearance and buildup, and items to be carried in a motor vehicle during winter. A standard winter survival-supply kit for winter driving will include blankets, a first-aid kit, reflectors, an ice scraper for windshields, jumper cables, and a cellphone. Motorists should keep in mind that not all sections of Illinois have continuous, seamless cellphone service.   

Visit the IL Department of Transportation's website to learn more about safe winter driving...  

Labor and management agree on unemployment insurance relief for steelworkers. Affected could be up to 2,000 workers at the Granite City Works. The mill complex makes hot-rolled sheet steel, which is used in furniture, appliances, oil and gas drilling, and many other uses. Declining prices for hot-rolled sheet steel, and accusations that massive quantities of steel are being illegally dumped by China and other Asian countries, have led to the partial shutdown of this mill and the layoff of most of its workers.

SB 1941, approved by the Illinois House on December 1, grants emergency relief to Granite City workers who have been laid off. Most or all of them have exhausted their unemployment insurance (UI) benefits, and SB 1941 grants extended benefits to most of them to enable their ongoing search for new employment. In most cases, this measure will grant 26 weeks of additional unemployment relief. The bill was approved by both labor and management entities that keep watch over the financial solvency of the UI trust fund. The House vote on SB 1941 was 107-2-0; the Senate concurred with the House amendment and sent the compromise measure to the Governor’s desk.