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.