Former Illinois State Fair manager returning to oversee fair

April 5, 2019

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — A former state employee who oversaw the Illinois State Fair in 2016 and 2017 is returning to manage the event.

John Sullivan, interim state Agriculture director, announced Wednesday that Kevin Gordon would again be overseeing the fair in Springfield, The State Journal-Register reported.

Gordon originally retired from the state in 2017 after a 29-year career, which included 17 years with the Illinois State Fair. Gordon was the third fair manager in three years.

“Kevin brings a wealth of knowledge, experience and a genuine appreciation for the Illinois State Fair,” Sullivan said in a statement. “Through years of hard work, he has earned the respect of co-workers, exhibitors, vendors and the fair community.”

As well as overseeing the flagship agricultural exhibition every August in Springfield, Gordon will manage related non-fair events, county fairs statewide and horse racing.

Josh Gross, a Perry County clerk, will be supervising the other Illinois state fair that takes place late summer in Du Quoin, Sullivan said.

The move means that the state will return to having separate administrators for both of its fairs. When Gov. Bruce Rauner’s administration selected Patrick Buchen as state fair manager in 2015, he oversaw both fairs. It was the first time the fairs had one manager since the state took control of the financially strapped fair in the southern Illinois community of Du Quoin in 1986.

Sullivan wanted to go back to two fair managers because “he believes it is important to maintain the individual identity of each fair,” said Morgan Booth, a spokeswoman for the Illinois State Fair. Both supervisors will report directly to Sullivan.

Gordon will operate the fair under a six-month personal services contract for $50,000, Booth said. Gross’ yearly salary will be $77,000.


Information from: The State Journal-Register, http://www.sj-r.com