SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Illinois State Fair vendors have agreed to work even though their paychecks may be delayed because of state budget issues, event organizers said.
“They understand we don’t have a budget,” Illinois Department of Agriculture Director Philip Nelson said during a preview of the fair for the media on Thursday.
“That’s part of doing business,” he said. “I think everybody has a very good, positive attitude about it. We’re working through it.”
Otherwise the budget impasse in Springfield shouldn’t be noticeable when the fair opens Thursday, Nelson said.
GOP Gov. Bruce Rauner and Democratic leaders in the General Assembly have been at odds over the state budget for the fiscal year that started July 1. State Fair manager Patrick Buchen says the budget impasse has made it “not the easiest three months.”
The 10-day fair runs from Thursday through Aug. 23 in Springfield. This year the emphasis will be on agriculture, organizers said.
Farm equipment has been absent from the fair in recent years, and Buchen said it will return this year. Its presence is meant to educate people who aren’t otherwise around agriculture, he said.
“We want to show them where the technology has been and where it’s going to,” Buchen said.
There also will be an “Ask a Farmer” booth and free twice-daily Ag Tours. The tent for the Department of Agriculture this year will get a more prominent spot east of the Coliseum.
This year the Governor’s Sale of Champions will be in the Coliseum after having been in the Livestock Center for several years.
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