SPRINGFIELD– “Celebrate and Educate” has been chosen as the theme of the 2007 Illinois State Fair and Twilight Parade. Agriculture Director Chuck Hartke and State Fair Manager Amy Bliefnick announced the selection on behalf of Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today during a fairgrounds press conference to discuss preparations for this year’s event.
“The Illinois State Fair is a great place to have fun. From thrilling carnival rides to top-notch Grandstand entertainment, there are plenty of activities for the whole family to enjoy. The Fair is a great place to learn and celebrate our state’s rich heritage, and to find out about state programs and services,” said Gov. Blagojevich.
In addition to the information available in the tents of state agencies, fairgoers can learn about fire safety in the Illinois State Fire Marshal’s Firehouse Museum or about the fair’s illustrious 155-year history in the Illinois State Fair Museum. Conservation World offers a wide array of free shows and hands-on activities that educate visitors about outdoor recreational opportunities and the state’s natural resources. Hometown Pride introduces fairgoers to different communities throughout Illinois, and Campus Town allows students and their parents to learn about the educational offerings at state colleges and universities.
“The fair has more than 150 buildings full of fascinating displays and exhibits,” Bliefnick said. “Through our choice of a theme and the addition of new fairgrounds signage, we hope to better promote these educational attractions and increase foot traffic inside the buildings.”
With 366 acres of attractions, the fair is Illinois’ premiere summer festival. Whether riding the Giant Slide, watching world-class harness racing and motorsports, visiting the famous Butter Cow or sipping a lemonade shake-up and eating a corn dog while strolling through exhibits featuring the handiwork of Illinois artists and craftsmen, there’s plenty to see and do.
Other educational offerings include:
• A podcast tour of the fairgrounds’ historic buildings. The Illinois Historic Preservation Agency produced this electronic history lesson, which is downloaded onto personal MP3 players and takes listeners on a narrated walking tour of 12 historic fair buildings.
• Live power line demonstrations. Sponsored by the Illinois Electric Council’s Safe Electricity program, the demonstrations teach valuable lessons to prevent electrical accidents and fires.
• The Illinois Pork Producers Association’s farrowing center. The center gives fairgoers a chance to watch the birth of baby piglets.
• The Kids Activity Tent. The tent offers children tips about proper fitness and nutrition.
• The Senior Center. Sponsored by the Illinois Department on Aging, the center provides free health screenings and information about Illinois Cares Rx, the state prescription drug program.
• The Jungle. This exhibit in the former Happy Hollow features educational animal shows with alligators, bears, sharks, lions, tigers and elephants.
• The Illinois Department of Transportation’s Division of Traffic Safety booth. The booth includes a video arcade that promotes traffic safety, a trivia game that reinforces good driving habits and instructional videos that teach proper child passenger safety and promote safety belt usage.
• The Illinois Department of Agriculture tent. Among other things, the tent includes free samples of Illinois food products to raise awareness about the economic importance of the state’s food processing industry.
The 2007 Illinois State Fair will be held Aug. 10 – 19. The Twilight Parade is scheduled Aug. 9. For more information, visit the fair’s website at www.illinoisstatefair.info.