DU QUOIN — Du Quoin Mayor Guy Alongi is among those thankful that the state legislators have finally reached agreement on a budget, even as his city prepares to host the upcoming Du Quoin State Fair.
Alongi expects that Du Quoin will receive about $20,000 from the state, per an intergovernmental agreement the two entities arrived at this past year. That agreement compensates the city for the expenses it incurs providing security for the opening Du Quoin State Fair parade and the fair itself, as well as the fire protection and mosquito abatement and year-round maintenance at the fairgrounds.
This year's Du Quoin State Fair runs from Aug. 25 to Sept. 4.
"I don’t know what the impact's going to be," Alongi said of state budget funding. "We get about $700,000 for entertainment, which seems to not be a whole lot of money for entertainment for a 10-day fair."
What he'd like to see the fair organizers do, though, is reallocate more money to lure top entertainers to the Du Quoin State Fair — even if there are only two or three nights of entertainment. Alongi said he's heard not just from Du Quoin residents, but from people throughout the region who are peeved about this year's fair lineup.
"I think that the people that run the Department of Ag have had two tough years," Alongi said. "They've had their backs against the wall."
"But we just have to keep working and show just how important this fairground is, not only to the city, but to the region. They got to have a vested interest in bringing this fair back and trying to make it a success. I’ve always contended that if you have top-name entertainment that you’re going to draw the numbers and you’re also going to draw the revenue."
"In my mind, I truly think that those people that are trying to run those agencies are trying to do the absolutely best that they can with as little money as they got," he continued. "Do we like it down here? To get that type of budget for the fair … nobody likes that."