SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Steps are being taken to make the Illinois State Fair Twilight Parade safer and more orderly for onlookers and participants.
When the annual parade is held this Aug. 10, fair officials said today candy no longer will be permitted to be thrown from floats and vehicles. They also announced a new staging area that should not only relieve traffic congestion in neighborhoods on the north end of Springfield, but also enable the procession move more quickly.
“Candy will not be prohibited altogether,” Fair Manager Amy Bliefnick said. “Parade participants still will be allowed to distribute it, but they will have to hand it out along the curb instead of tossing it from a vehicle in the middle of the street.”
“I’ve seen children dash into the street and jump in front of moving vehicles just to grab a piece of candy that had fallen from a float,” Special Events coordinator Dennis Morris added. “We’re very fortunate that someone hasn’t been seriously injured.”
The new staging area will be located on Ninth Street between North Grand Avenue and Carpenter Street. It formerly began at Ninth and North Grand as well, but stretched to the east instead of the south and wound its way into several neighborhoods surrounding Lanphier High School, tying up local traffic.
“This staging area will enable participants to line-up in a straight line, which should speed the pace of the parade,” Morris said. “Floats and vehicles, in particular, will no longer have to negotiate turns on city sidestreets before reaching the parade route.”
The fair still is looking for groups and individuals to participate in the parade. High school marching bands, drill teams, dance troupes, gymnastics squads and other interested parties have until July 14 to submit an entry. Entry forms are available on the Illinois State Fair’s website at www.illinoisstatefair.info and should be returned to the Special Events Office, P.O. Box 19427, Springfield, Ill., 62794-9427. Call (217) 782-0777 for further information.