SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Traditional cakes and piñatas have been replaced with corn dogs and chocolate-covered bacon as the historic Illinois State Fair Main Gate celebrates its 100th birthday.
The Main Gate is one of Springfield’s historic landmarks. Honored on the 1997 Springfield City Ornament, the Main Gate serves as the official symbol of the Illinois State Fair. Nearly 30 feet tall, the gate consists of three, arched entrances that are decorated with lights, illuminating the main entrance to the fair on Sangamon Avenue at night and providing fairgoers with a picturesque greeting.
“The Main Gate has become a symbol of tradition over the last century,” State Fair Manager Amy Bliefnick said. “It’s the grand entrance to a grand fair!”
The Main Gate was built in 1910 and serves as the welcoming and familiar face fairgoers have grown to know and love. For more information about the Main Gate, as well as other historic ISF exhibits, contact the ISF Museum Foundation at 1-866-996-1853.
DOCTOR OF PHARMACY WINS ORIGINAL KISS ARMY COSTUME COMPETITION
Dedicated fans arrived in full Kiss attire at the Original Kiss Army Costume Competition held at the APEX Stage. The contest ended quickly, with Gene Simmons’ spitting image, Terry Traster, chosen as the winner.
Although Traster could easily be mistaken for the real Simmons, he said with laughter that he is only “Dr. Love” by night.
“I’m actually a doctor of pharmacy by day, Monday through Friday, from 8 to 5.”
This was Traster’s first costume competition, but he fell in love with the legendary rock band, whose hit songs included “Calling Dr. Love,” nearly two years ago.
“I went to a concert, and that was it,” Traster said. “I was turned on to the music and the rest is history.”
For his efforts, Traster won a backstage pass and an onstage introduction at Saturday’s performance by The Original Kiss Army.
Illinois State Fair Honors Outstanding Young Gardener
Every year, the Illinois State Fair honors farmers who have made notable achievements. In 2010, one of the honorees is Lillian Hladovcak of Grand Ridge. Her expert gardening skills helped her win a nationwide cabbage growing contest. Lillian, however, is unlike other expert gardeners who spend years perfecting their skills: she is only 10 years old.
Despite her age, Lillian possesses a wealth of gardening knowledge. When asked how she grew a 20 pound cabbage that won the renowned Bonnie Plants Cabbage Program competition, she stated that moderation is the key to gardening.
“Water your plant properly. Sometimes it needs a lot of water, sometimes a little,” Lillian stated. She added that the right amount of horse manure, proper weeding, and pest repellant are key to growing prize-winning plants.
Lillian also is also passionate about the importance of gardening. She noted that in addition to helping people exercise, gardening teaches important lessons “about where food comes from.”
For her award winning cabbage, Lillian was awarded a $1,000 college savings bond and tickets to attend the 2010 Illinois State Fair with her parents, grandparents and three siblings. In case you were wondering what happened to the 20 pound cabbage: it was fed to her 24 chickens.