BY THE NUMBERS It started with the ancient Romans. It continues with the folks in Sangamon County, Ill., among other places. State fairs. County fairs. Places to show wares, judge livestock, have contests, climb on rides-a summer place for a family to see a tractor pull one moment and an orchestra concert the next, with plenty of corn dogs to go around. (Schedules for Illinois are at www.agr.state.il.us/fair/countyfairssched.html.)
Fairs, by the numbers:
158,000,000 Number of people who attend state and county fairs each summer in the United States.
2 Number of state fairs in Illinois (one in Springfield, one in DuQuoin).
1 Number of state fairs in Iowa, but. . . .
2 Rank of Iowa State Fair as the "second most popular place America goes to have fun, next to Las Vegas," according to USA Today survey.
750,000 Number of people expected to attend the 2006 Illinois State Fair in Springfield.
8,700 Number of different competitive events at the Illinois State Fair, from senior ceramics to hay bailing, not to mention hog calling and husband calling.
8 Number of places awarded in most fair competitions (blue ribbon followed by red, white, yellow, green, orange, purple and brown).
104 Number of county fairs in Illinois even though there are only 102 counties.
3,300,000 Number of people who attend county fairs in Illinois.
4 Number of years until the next World's Fair, in Shanghai, China (but that is another story).
Zay N. Smith