Food and drink vendors at this year’s Illinois State Fair say fewer people lined up for things like corn dogs and lemon shake-ups. That fits with an official report of declining overall attendance.
Fair officials say attendance was down 8 percent over the previous year, and vendors could feel the pinch.
One of those vendors, Vose’s Korndogs, is a Springfield staple — with 50 years in business and a loyal clientele, it’s one of the most popular businesses on the fairgrounds. So it’s really saying something when owner Ken Vose says even his sales were down.
“We were down a little bit from past years," Vose explained. "and I know there were some that I talked to that claim they were down quite a bit. It could have been the item they were selling or maybe people just didn’t have the money to spend, I guess.”
Vose says even with his loyal client base, he could have done better. But certain factors got in the way.
“I think it’s just a little bit of the economy," he said. "Schools start back up during the fair. I think people are watching their money a little bit more.”
Looking for a silver lining, fair officials say as of August 31st, vendors reported a 16 percent jump in sales over the previous year. But that’s a preliminary number. Vendors have until December to submit their receipts.