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State

Illinois State Fair saw increase in attendance

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — Attendance was up nearly 15 percent at this year's Illinois State Fair.

Attendance for the 10-day fair that ended Sunday was just more than 844,000, compared with about 735,600 last year, The State Journal-Register reported Monday (http://bit.ly/SIXqb4).

State Fair manager Amy Bliefnick said attendees seemed to enjoy the mild weather after weeks of triple-digit heat earlier in the summer.

"If we had the weather we had in July during the fair, the attendance would have been very different," Bliefnick said.

The boost also came despite ticket prices increasing from $5 to $7.

Attendance at grandstand shows also saw a slight increase. About 51,700 people attended nine ticketed music performances this year compared with about 49,600 last year. This year's top draws were country singers Miranda Lambert and Eric Church.

Popular attractions at this year's fair were a family-fun area called Happy Hollow and upgrades to Ethnic Village, Bliefnick said.

Bliefnick said she is happy with this year's fair and her staff spent time evaluating offering and noting improvements for next year.

"We just continue to try to do what we do better," she said.

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