SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WAND) – Funnel cakes and lemon shakeups are months away, but the Illinois State Fair is active even in the February cold.
Construction is well underway to renovate the Coliseum on the fairgrounds after it was closed in 2016 due to structural issues. The Illinois Department of Agriculture says it is hoping the building will be open again by the time the State Fair starts in August.
“This structure is one of the premiere locations for many events throughout the Midwest,” said Warren Goetsch, Deputy Director, Illinois Department of Agriculture. “I think this is on top of the list for many, many people to see this structure be opened.”
The legislature appropriated $30 million for fairground renovations. An estimated $10 million will be used on the Coliseum. Additional money will be spent on roof replacement for the series 25 barns, the Illinois Building and the Dairy Building.
There may even be a second phase of work later this year for the Coliseum.
“Where we’ll possibly add air conditioning and heating to the structure to allow it to be used 12 months out of the year which would be a tremendous addition to the fairgrounds,” Goetsch said.
A decision on adding those features will be made later this year and possibly be ready for the 2020 fair. The 2019 fair will be August 8-18.