SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WCIA) – The fairgrounds have been closed for less than a week, but some are already calling the Illinois State Fair a success. 

Fair officials are still working on the final ticket sales for the 2022 state fair, but have released some statistics about the fair. 

Many food vendors declared this year as one of their best years, including long-time vendors like Cullers’ French Fries, who have served fries at the fair for 75 years.  

“The first Saturday of the fair was the highest grossing day for Cullers’ ever at any fair,” Jim and Darcie Cullers, owners of Cullers’ French Fries, said. “That record didn’t last long, though. The very next day, we topped those numbers.”

Culler’s was not the only vendor to shatter their expectations. Schneider’s elephant ears went through 44 boxes of dough; they usually only go through 30 boxes at a fair. Illinois Specialty Growers also sold a record breaking 3,459 apple cider slushies.

3,459 apple cider slushies were sold by Illinois Specialty Growers during the Illinois State Fair.

Fair delicacies like the Golden Abe-award winning Dilly Dilly Pizza also sold well. MiaBella’s Wood Fired Pizza, who make the pizza with dill pickles, used 81 gallons of dill pickles during the fair.

Photo Credit: Alex Degman

Some vendors attributed their success to fair management not being afraid to take risks.

“That first day, I pulled into the fairgrounds, and you just felt a different vibe,” Phil Caplis, owner of Fresh, Delicious Cookies said. “You knew they’d worked hard to get this fair to recover from COVID.”

Fair officials are proud of youth involvement within the fair. Almost 4,500 children and young adults exhibited their agricultural projects.  

Nearly 4,500 youth participated in showing livestock, 4-H projects, or hobby arts and crafts projects during the 2022 Illinois State Fair.

“Youth exhibitors are what make the Illinois State Fair what it is,” said Illinois State Fair Manager Rebecca Clark. “To see the pride on young exhibitors’ faces when they show a project after a year’s work is priceless.” 

Additionally, over 36,000 vehicles were parked on the fairgrounds over the course of the fair. A headliner for the first weekend, country music duo Brooks & Dunn, drew in 10,401 attendees to the Grandstand. 

More than 36,000 vehicles were parked on the Fairgrounds during the duration of the 2022 Illinois State Fair.

2021 was the second-highest attended state fair since 2014.

The 2023 Illinois State Fair is scheduled for August 10-23, 2023. The DuQuoin State Fair has its ribbon cutting Friday.