SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Fairgoers have the opportunity to discover some State Fair history as they enjoy this year’s Illinois State Fair.
The Illinois State Fair Museum Foundation hopes to educate fairgoers about the history of the buildings and traditions of State Fairs past, through a walking tour. The foundation is a volunteer organization that works to preserve and promote awareness about the Illinois State Fair history.
“Fairgoers can learn about history of the buildings,” museum director Pam Gray said. “The general public doesn’t know that the state fair manager’s home located in the fairgrounds was a Sears’ catalog home. Most people don’t know that.”
Maps for the walking tour can be found at the fairground’s information booths. Along with the map, fairgoers will receive a card that they can punch at each of the six walking tour locations. Those who have smart-phones can also scan an area on the sign markers that takes them directly to websites for even more information. Once fairgoers have visited the six history spots, they can take their card to the U.S. Cellular booth in the Expo Building to claim a prize.
“The walking tour is good for kids and family, and they can get a free gift,” Gray said.
Fairgoers can visit the six history spots that include the Grandstand, Horse Barn #25, Kids Korner, the Artisans Building, Sears Bungalow across from Hobbies and Crafts Buildings, and the Women’s Building near the High Dive Show.
This is the first year for the walking tour. More history spots are expected to be added next year.
For more information on all that is happening during the 2011 Illinois State Fair, visit www.illinoisstatefair.info
2011 Illinois State Fair Attendance
Halfway through the ten-day Illinois State Fair, attendance is up 23 percent. According to fair management, 390,963 fairgoers passed through the gates the first five days of the fair, or 72,190 more than a year ago. The fair attributes the increase to pleasant temperatures and an appealing Grandstand entertainment line-up, including country superstar Jason Aldean’s concert that drew a record 15,329 fans to the fairgrounds last Sunday. A day-by-day breakdown of the attendance follows:
Friday 66,010 58,728
Saturday 72,029 55,577
Sunday 135,956 89,934
Monday 58,600 59,943
Tuesday 58,368 54,591
Total 390,963 318,773