Weather Impacts Fair Attendance


By Amy Fox
By Craig Choate

DU QUOIN--  The 2014 Du Quoin State Fair wrapped up Monday. Fair officials haven't released many specifics on attendance. They say things got off to a slow start, but rebounded over the holiday weekend.

Over the last ten days, thousands of people have made their way to Du Quoin. Organizers say the hot and, at times, rainy weather kept attendance down initially, but things improved. Sunday night, more than 65,000 people packed the fairgrounds.

It was a strong start.

"[We had the] largest parade we had in the history of the fair. Over 2,000 people participated in that.  And that showed me immediately that there is a renewed interest in the Du Quoin State Fair," said Du Quoin State Fair Manager Shannon Woodworth.

And plenty of rides and attractions.

"Seeing the people. Seeing them come out and enjoy themselves, seeing all the little kids come out and how excited they get over seeing the different rides, that's what it's all about," said fair vendor Mike Mills.  

The 2014 Du Quoin State Fair has been one to remember, but there's one thing organizers can't control.

"I don't even think about how hot it is in there, " said Joanie Foster, fair vendor. "It's just that warm southern hospitality out here that keeps me going."

Despite a record breaking Labor Day weekend, the state fair got off to a rocky start, thanks to Mother Nature.

Mills said, "If i didn't need to be here, I wouldn't have been here either."

"Then, the heat broke and when the heat broke, the folks poured out here," said Woodworth.

But for die-hard fairgoers, like the Clovers, a visit to Du Quoin is a must, no matter what.

"We like the ice cream very much," said Vanessa Clover.

Tasha Clover said, "[The] family style atmosphere and the kids just really enjoy all of the sounds and sights and all the rides."

As another fair wraps up, officials says they're happy with the way things turned out.

"We all came together this year. We showed there is a bond and a relationship between this fair and the entire region that continues to be very very strong," said Woodsworth.

And many are already looking forward to next year.

Tasha said, "We will be here again, probably right here."

This year's Foreigner concert on opening weekend was the largest at the fair since Kenny Chesney back in 2001. Planning for next year's Du Quoin State fair will begin in just a few weeks.

Marion Regional
Current: 55°
High: 57°
Low: 52°
Wind: 0 MPH
Pressure: 0.00
Humidity: 94 %

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