Du Quoin State Fair boosts small town's economy

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Reporter - Kathryn DiGisi

DU QUOIN, Ill. - The Du Quoin State Fair kicked off on Friday, but city officials say they started seeing a boost in their economy about two weeks prior to the gates opening.

That boost comes in the form of tax revenue through sales, motor oil, hotel and utility taxes.

It is one of the biggest events Southern Illinois has to offer.

"A ten day event that brings in 350,000 people," said fair manager John Rednour.

Rednour says this year, they are expecting even more: about 400,000 visitors.

Du Quoin City Administrator says all of those people help to boost the economy of an otherwise small and sleepy town.

"They're in our hotels, they're in our campgrounds, they're eating in our restaurants, shopping in our stores," said Myers.

The state as a whole benefits, too.

Ten years ago, Illinois made about $800,000 off the Du Quoin State Fair.

"They estimate for this year is probably going to be about a million and a half," said Rednour.

A study is currently being conducted through Southern Illinois University to find out just how much the city of Du Quoin benefits from the annual fair.

In fact, you might be asked to be interviewed for the study if you are at the fair this year.

But Myers says he will take the recognition alone.

"Du Quoin by itself is a great small town, but when you couple it with the fact that we have the fair grounds here, it doubles our impact to southern Illinois," said Myers.

The fair puts Du Quoin on the map, and he says that is priceless.

The fair's free entertainment kicks off Friday with a performance by "Uncle Kracker".

The rest of the lineup includes big names like "Kansas", "Gretchen Wilson", "Darryl Worely" and "Montgomery Gentry".

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