SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – For some fairgoers, like H. Edward Frederick and Larry Shultz, the Illinois State Fair is a time-honored tradition that requires months of preparation combined with the gift of a green thumb.
Frederick, an Elgin native, was named 2009 Grand Champion in the Gladiolus division of the Floriculture exhibit being held at the Emmerson Building Annex, which is located directly behind the Emmerson building on Main Street. Frederick’s victory marks his fourth win in the gladiolus division in the past five years, which he credits to the five hours a day that he spends working on his yard and garden.
Frederick, 76, began his floriculture career in 1951 and was quick to win his first Grand Championship in 1954. The 2009 Illinois State Fair marks the 55th year that Frederick has been involved in competitions at the Illinois State Fair and over the years he has developed a certain admiration for the Illinois State Fair and its competitions.
“We are very lucky to have the fair. I hope it continues for a long time,” Frederick said. “I really enjoy all of the competitions. Competing really gets in your blood.”
Similar to Frederick, is the dedication that Larry Shultz has demonstrated to the Illinois State Fair. The 2009 Illinois State Fair marks the 50th consecutive year that Shultz has attended and competed in floriculture competitions. Shultz first attended the Illinois State Fair in 1960 where he displayed his gladiolus’.
Shultz, 68, credits his start in floriculture to his father who also enjoyed spending time in the garden. Shultz, a life-long St. Louis Cardinal’s fan, agreed with Frederick that tradition is a strong factor in why he comes back each year.
“Tradition always brings me back. These displays (gladiolus) bring smiles to people’s faces and more than anything I enjoy sharing the flowers with everyone more than the actual showings and awards,” Shultz said.
Shultz contributed over 200 gladiolus bulbs to the 2009 floriculture exhibit.
The Emmerson Building Annex is open Monday through Friday from noon to 7:30 p.m. and from noon to 9 p.m. on Saturday (Aug.22). The Illinois State Fair will be held through Sunday, Aug. 23.