Public servants, serving the community
For the Past 63 years The DuPage County Fair Association has called the 55 acre site that was dedicated to be the Fairgrounds in 1955, its Home. The Fair Association is a non-for-profit Volunteer organization that manages and owns all of the buildings and infrastructure on the site. NO COUNTY FUNDING is used to maintain and improve the facilities. I repeat we are not a government agency; we Do Not Receive any Funding from the County, or your Real Estate Tax bill. This is a group of dedicated volunteers that have given back to the community a huge number of event opportunities and the “Annual County Fair”.
The Fairgrounds is a busy place! There are 2, 3, 4 or more events on the grounds every weekend. These events range from the 42 year tradition of the Great Midwest Train Show, the 9 year run of the twice a month All Animal Expo, numerous AKC Dog shows, The All Night Flea Market, Antique Shows, Civil War Shows, Toy Shows, Orchid Shows, Home Shows, etc., etc. The List is long. We are fortunate to have so many shows that return year after year. We are always looking for new and interesting opportunities for the community to enjoy. The current shows we host generate over 3,000 overnight stays in area Hotels, and have a huge favorable economic impact on Local Businesses. Recently the University of Illinois completed an Economic Impact Study on Fairs, Fair Time Only, and it reported our Fair to generate $3,000,000.00 favorable impact on the Local Economy.
Aside from shows and expos, the grounds also offer many benefits to the community. Throughout this past year, the Wheaton Fire Department trained drivers and held accident extraction training on the grounds. The People’s Resource Center held their Share the Spirit event to benefit local residents during the Holiday Season. The Sheriff’s Department provides some training as well as hosts “Sheriff Safety Saturday” at the grounds. We hosted a Vets Stand Down, and we are excited that another is already on the calendar. Our grounds have served as a Polling Place for many years and we expect this to continue for years to come. Wheaton Park District utilizes our parking for activities at Graf Park, and the Annual 4th of July Fireworks are set off from our grounds. We provide space for the City of Wheaton to dispose of overflow snow during the winter months. Indoor tennis is played every day and evening when our building is not scheduled for events. Several Senior Olympic Gold Medalists and quite a few Elite National Youth Champion players play on our courts. Many participate in Dog Training classes one or two nights a week. A number of our local 4-H Clubs meet regularly at the Fairgrounds; a highlight of their year is the annual 4-H International Night, this years attendance topped 600 people. Many private parties, company events, and even a couple of weddings have taken place at the Fairgrounds. Our East parking lot serves as a safety drop off and pick up area for Monroe Middle School, and we are happy to host Monroe’s Annual Promotion Ceremony. I haven’t listed all the activities, but I believe it demonstrates that we have a vibrant, active event center.
This past year the Governor signed into Law the abolishment of the “Fair and Exposition Authority” thanks to the support of DuPage County Board Members Jim Zay, Amy Grant, Grant Eckhoff, and Chairman Cronin. The Authority was government’s first intrusion into the business of the Fair Association. Thirty years ago this politically appointed group was put in place to oversee several million dollars of the Fair Association’s money. Very little, if any of those monies went back into the Fairground Facilities, because we were going to move the Fairgrounds. We are thankful to those who supported us, the Illinois House of Representatives (unanimous vote 105 -0), the Illinois Senate (unanimous vote 55-0), and the Governor for signing the Bill. We received $260,000 of our money back, to start the preservation of the Fairgrounds. We have many projects in process, already completing a new roof on our main Exhibition Building, new windows and doors, as well as extensive renovations of existing space. The improvements have created new opportunities allowing us to continue to host events and to add new events for the benefit of DuPage County Residents.
The volunteer Fair Association Board continues to look for new opportunities, new facilities on the grounds, and new partnerships to bring more exciting programming to the community. We have not, and do not intend to ask for County Tax Dollars to do so. We are always open to new ideas and welcome the support of our community. The day to day operations of the Fairgrounds and the countless hours of committed volunteer work is what makes the Fair possible. We are excited to change, innovate and improve our operations to better serve the community. Please come out and enjoy your County Fairgrounds, please support our efforts and we will see you at the Fair, July 26th – 30th.
Thanks, Jim McGuire