Rock Island County Fair fundraiser aims to fill state funding gap

EAST MOLINE, Illinois -- Without a state budget in place, county fair boards in Illinois are pinching pennies as they try to finalize plans for this summer.

State funding for county fairs has been dropping over the past several years. In Rock Island County, the fair's state funding has been cut in half -- dwindling from about $60,000 a few years ago to $30,000 in 2016.

Plus, without a state budget, fair directors say nothing is guaranteed.

"We don't know for sure what we'll get," said Ron Whipple, a member of the Rock Island County Fair board of directors. "It's not easy, I can say that. You just wonder all the time how long we can continue."

In order to make sure the summer tradition continues, the fair association is getting creative.

On Saturday, May, 20, the board will host its first fundraiser -- a car show and swap meet.

"Funding keeps getting lower and lower and lower, and other things keep getting higher and higher. So, we have to get the community involved in order to be able to continue with the fair," said Whipple.

The "Motorsports Spectacular" car show and swap meet will be held at the Rock Island County Fairgrounds in East Moline on Saturday.

The event will run from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. All cars are welcome with a $10 entry fee. General admission is $2.

The Rock Island County Fair is scheduled for July 18-22, 2017.