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August 2, 2001

Tech Town Offers Interactive Experience

SPRINGFIELD -- Governor George H. Ryan once again invites fairgoers to visit Tech Town at the Illinois State Fair. Tech Town provides a unique opportunity for visitors to see and interact with the latest technology throughout Illinois. Two dozen exhibits inside the "townscape" layout will offer a taste of the technology used by state government to deliver services, educate children and advance research.

"Tech Town is designed to encourage visitors to explore, learn and enjoy," Ryan said. "The "neighborhoods" featured inside Tech Town give State Fair visitors examples of many of the government services offered online."

"Business Boulevard," "Public Safety Place," "Learning Lane," "Public Service Parkway" and "Green Acres" host dozens of examples of online government. Within these neighborhoods, fairgoers will be able to explore the job matching "Illinois Skills Match" system to access available job opportunities across Illinois. Licensed professionals regulated by the Department of Professional Regulation will have the ability to quickly renew their state licenses online using a credit card. Children will love the challenge of six educational work stations, fully staffed by trained experts, throughout the 10 days of the Fair. And, students will be able to register online for college courses or learn about the role technology plays in our classrooms.

Chicago's Shedd Aquarium and Brookfield Zoo will be live via direct interactive video links, allowing fairgoers to ask questions and interact with coral reef divers and zookeepers. Argonne National Laboratory will highlight the latest research in basic sciences, scientific facilities, energy resources and environmental management.

The "Sights of Illinois" will feature live video shots from various web cams located throughout Illinois as well as around the fairgrounds. Watch the high-dive show from the top looking down! When available, fairgoers also may ask questions to some Grandstand artists interviewed on the video wall prior to the nightly concerts.

From the moment visitors walk through the "Grand Entrance" of Tech Town to the final visit to the NewsChannel 20 studio, you will experience a mix of technologies that include accessibility tools, interactive mapping, GPS technology, educational software, electronic filing, plasma screens, satellite imagery and video streaming.

Visitors can check their e-mail or surf the Internet in the Cyber Cafe. Guides from the Department of Natural Resources will show QuickTime Virtual Reality Panoramas of five kinds of Illinois forests with narration and sound effects in the "VisionDome." Children can get their picture taken with a digital camera or interact with a teller station where they can learn to write checks and deposit slips.

Housed in an air-conditioned pavilion on Central Avenue between the Coliseum and the Ameritech-sponsored high-dive show, Tech Town will be open during the State Fair from 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. daily.


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