Illinois State Fair

WUIS

Despite great weather, Illinois's State Fair, which fell later in August than usual, saw a huge decline in attendance.

At the state fair's kickoff earlier this month, Gov. Bruce Rauner announced his love of the event.

"I hope everybody in Springfield, everybody around the state, come on out," he said before the fair's opening parade.

Instead, figures show attendance fell by half. The state says 411,500 people went through the fair's gates, versus the 847,000 who showed up last year.

Amanda Vinicky / WUIS

Illinois Democrats say their party is strong and more energized than ever, thanks to Republican Governor Bruce Rauner.

The day after Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner accused them of holding up progress, hundreds of Democrats packed into a ballroom rose to their feet and clapped when Senate President John Cullerton said this:

"We are willing to work with Gov. Rauner, but we don't work for Gov. Rauner, okay?"

Amanda Vinicky / WUIS

Gov. Bruce Rauner's November election victory landed his party a summer prize Illinois Republicans haven't had in dozen years --- the pride of having Governor's Day at the Illinois State Fair. But Rauner's day of political revelry Wednesday ended with a stinging defeat.

Rauner didn't miss the opportunity to make a grand entrance to his first Governor's Day at the fairgrounds. He rode in on his black Harley.

WUIS

Governor Bruce Rauner says he’s been visiting the Illinois State Fair daily, and he’d like to see it become the nation’s greatest fair.

Rauner says one way to support the fair is by using private donations to help pay for upkeep of the state fairgrounds in Springfield.

Illinois officials say the threat of bird flu required limits on poultry at this year’s Illinois State Fair.

This strain of avian influenza entered the U.S. last December. So far it’s infected flocks in all the states surrounding Illinois.

State Department of Agriculture Director Philip Nelson says it’s resulted in 48 million birds either dying or being killed. Because of that, he says bird exhibitions at the state fair will be limited to Illinois birds.

WUIS

You’ll be able to get your fill of corn dogs and lemon shakeups as usual when state fairs get underway next month. 

Democratic House Speaker Mike Madigan said that without a budget, Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner does not have the power to spend on Illinois’ two state fairs.  But both events are moving forward.

Without a state budget, funding has halted for social services and other programs. Rauner’s administration has not made clear how it intends to pay for fair expenses.

statefairmuseum.org

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner’s office says the Illinois State Fair will take place next month, with or without a budget.

House Speaker Michael Madigan says the administration gave up the legal power to spend money on the fair. The governor vetoed most of the budget approved by the legislature -- including the funding for the event.

“He had options under the constitution…today, there is no budget and there is no spending authority,” Madigan said. 

Things are quieter for GOP at the fair

Aug 16, 2012

Members of the Illinois GOP are rallying their supporters for Republican Day at the Illinois State Fair one day after demonstrators booed Gov. Pat Quinn at Democratic events. But Republicans are not talking much about the presidential election just a few months away.

Democrats filled a banquet hall yesterday in a raucus event -- frequently evoking the name Barack Obama and getting the crowd riled up.

Republicans organized a much smaller event today with about 100 attendees, mostly county party chairmen.