June 20, 2024

Improvements continue at Du Quoin Fairgrounds

‘As good as it’s been’

DU QUOIN, Ill. — The Du Quoin State Fair turned 100 in 2022. One of the birthday presents from the State of Illinois to the site of the state’s second state fair was some $6 million in improvements.

Fairgoers to the 2023 Du Quoin State Fair Aug. 25-Sept. 4 will see the results of those efforts, as well as ongoing improvements to the fairgrounds.

“We are just finishing a lot of the work from last year,” said Josh Gross, the manager of the Du Quoin State Fair.

That work included major renovations to the grandstand and front gate, resurfacing the grandstand stage and renovating the neon fair signs. Gross said fairgoers attending the grandstand events will notice the improvements.

“There may be a few small touchup jobs that need to be done, but for the most part, that project is 99% done and it looks really, really good,” he said.

“The stage covering looks brand new, the ceiling looks brand new, all of the leaks have been patched on the roof and it’s a whole new roof.”

Other upgrades may not be as noticeable, but are just as vital, if not more so.

“Our project over in the horse arena, where our Million Dollar Barn is, all of that has been completed. The fire suppression system upgrades throughout a number of the buildings are now completed,” Gross said.

The upgrades not only serve during the Du Quoin State Fair, but throughout the year, when the fairgrounds hosts different sporting events and also rents out buildings on the fairgrounds.

Gross said the next big project involves a massive overhaul of the administration building on the fairgrounds. The building has served as apartments, office space and storage. In recent years, the building fell into disrepair.

“We got together with Governor Pritzker and Director Costello and decided that building, which is probably the most visually appealing building on the fairgrounds, needed to be brought back up to par. That project started three months ago,” the fair manager said.

Gross said roof repairs are finished on the building, called the Grand Circuit Barn, which features 60 horse stalls and a breezeway on the first floor, then office space on the second floor.

“The office space on the inside is getting completely revamped and modernized. They should be done in the middle of winter and we are going to move our full time offices into that building. So far it’s going really, really well,” said Gross of the $3 million capital project.

He said other work on the fairgrounds, including updating landscaping, will be done in time to welcome guests to the fair on Aug. 25.

“We changed some areas where, for years, we simply put mulch down. We’ve been ahead enough of the game and we were able to add in rock instead and redo some landscaping. We fixed some things that were worn down and were in need of some TLC,” he said.

“When people get here for the fair, they will see all the hard work we’ve put in. This place is just about as good as it’s been.”

Jeannine Otto

Jeannine Otto

Field Editor