SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – 94-year-old Eileen C. Jones can’t get enough of the Illinois State Fair. Jones has been coming to the fair since she was born in 1918. She hasn’t missed a single year, except during World War when no fairs were held.
Jones, a Springfield resident, came to her first fair with her mother’s side of the family, who had been visiting for years and years. This year she was accompanied by her youngest son, Tim, and his family.
“My grandma would make us a lunch and one of my aunts would take us all out there,” Jones said. “My aunt would always make us walk through the barns before we could go to (the carnival at) Happy Hollow.”
Jones has many fond memories of her past fairs, but said she couldn’t really pick a favorite.
“Every year there is something new,” she said.
She looks forward to every fair and seeing the people. Even at 94 she loves crowds and all the attractions that the fair has to offer.
“Everyone talks about how the fair is so expensive,” Jones said. “But people don’t realize that there is all kinds of fun stuff to do that is free.”
Jones said when she was younger all she wanted to do was get to the carnival, but now it’s different.
“As you get older, you start to enjoy the exhibits a little more,” Jones added. “They become less boring.”
Eileen has enjoyed every fair, from when she was a small child, to her teenage “dating years” as she calls them, to now.
“I just love the fair,” she said with a smile.
Thanks to Radio Disney, fairgoers now can hang out with Perry the Platypus and other stars of the hit TV show “Phineas and Ferb.”
Perry the Platy-bus is traveling across the country and has chosen to make its next stop on the fairgrounds in Happy Hollow. The exhibit offers plenty of fun activities and will be open daily from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. until the end of the fair.
Fairgoers can grab a scratch-off card and walk through the Platy-bus to find Perry in a type of “Where’s Waldo?” activity. They also can play baseball, dance and even do a ninja-kick with Phineas, Ferb and Perry on the big screen.
Prizes are being awarded to participants, including a Perry the Platypus “Agent P” mask and “Phineas and Ferb” magazines. Group games and activities taking place periodically throughout the day give fairgoers a chance to win Perry the Platypus memorabilia.