Renovations, repairs ramping up at state fairgrounds

Construction crews and Illinois State Fair staff are working hard to finish up renovations to the grounds as the countdown to the 2024 fair continues.

The Illinois State Fair hosts a plethora of construction projects, including phase two renovations to the Illinois State Fair Coliseum and restoration to the Multi-Purpose Arena.

click to enlarge Renovations, repairs ramping up at state fairgrounds
Photo by Hannah Spangler of FarmWeek
Construction is underway at the Illinois State Fair, including renovations to the Coliseum.

“Spring means construction here on the Illinois State Fairgrounds. And we’re still in the middle of a $58 million economic investment in the fairgrounds to address years of deferred maintenance,” said Rebecca Clark, Illinois State Fair manager.

After completing the Coliseum roof overhaul in 2019, the crew now tackles a $16.8 million transformation.

Phase two renovations focus on new electrical, heating and cooling, plumbing and sound systems. The project also addresses new seating and adds an elevator, increasing the building’s accessibility.

“We started our renovations to the Coliseum around fall of ‘22 but had to stop the summer of ‘23 for the fair and all of the horse shows,” said Rick Newbold of Egizii Electric. “We’re in full swing now and are hoping for no more delays so we can be done come fair time.”

According to Clark, crews have also been working on road improvement projects throughout the fairgrounds. This is routine maintenance to prepare for the wear-and-tear of the upcoming show season.

Additionally, she said various fair buildings are undergoing roofing projects.

“We also just finished putting the finishing touches on the Multi-Purpose Arena,” she said.

The arena received an $8.6 million facelift. Repair projects focused on repairing sidewalks, walls, steps and electrical systems, as well as readjusting the tension structure, installing a new canopy, and rebuilding the retaining walls around the facility.

Clark said this year the Multi-Purpose Arena will be used and will have plenty of events, including a rodeo. Clark said the fair is utilizing a new company this year that will host nine rodeo event categories.

“It’s a jam-packed show, great for those junior exhibitors who are going to be visiting with us during the State Fair,” she said.

click to enlarge Renovations, repairs ramping up at state fairgrounds
Photo by Hannah Spangler of FarmWeek
Most of the fair renovation budget falls on the Illinois State Fair Coliseum, where phase two renovations are in full swing

More than 10,000 visitors can be seated at the Multi-Purpose Arena and tickets will go on sale as more events are announced.

“I’m really excited about all of the things that are happening here,” Clark told FarmWeek. “I think our fair family is going to really see that excitement when the fair rolls around this August.”

This story was distributed through a cooperative project between Illinois Farm Bureau and the Illinois Press Association. For more food and farming news, visit

Got something to say?

Send a letter to the editor and we'll publish your feedback in print!

Comments (0)
Add a Comment