SPRINGFIELD – Governor Pat Quinn today officially opened the 2013 Illinois State Fair, the start of the annual agricultural celebration that features a wide variety of family-friendly activities along with food, racing, music and carnival rides. The “Our Illinois” fair theme was introduced at today’s Main Gate ribbon cutting as the Governor was joined by people from all parts of the state to welcome the world to the ten-day event.
“The State Fair is an Illinois agricultural and entertainment tradition, with something for everyone and featuring the best from our state’s number one industry,” Governor Quinn said. “I encourage everyone across Illinois to come to Springfield over the next week and a half to sample the sights, sounds and tastes of the fair.”
New features at this year’s fair include the Budweiser Clydesdales, who will parade through the fairgrounds every day at 4 p.m. and stay in the Gate 2 area the rest of the day; the Happy Hollow “Concert on the Hill” series, live at 5:30 p.m. daily; the Conservation World “Puddle Duck” races August 17 that challenge kids to make and race their own toy boats; a CrossFit team competition August 10; and the return of the popular Cheer Classic cheerleading competition August 17.
This year’s Grandstand concert lineup includes Billy Currington, REO Speedwagon, Styx, John Mayer, The Band Perry, Toby Keith, Ke$ha, and Journey. The Grandstand will feature two free concerts as well, one by New Odyssey and the Illinois Army National Guard 144th Army Band August 12 and another by local high school show choirs August 15. The fair also offers a wide variety of free entertainment – from magic shows to musical acts – on 14 stages throughout the fairgrounds.
The Governor’s Tent features a children’s area hosted by the Illinois State Museum that will give kids a chance to explore what prehistoric Illinois looked like before settlers arrived. Local foods and food products from throughout the state will be featured in the tent as part of the “Where Fresh Is” campaign, an effort aimed to promote the purchase of Illinois-produced fruits and vegetables. Kids can get photos taken with construction equipment in an area that promotes state construction projects, and the state’s tourist attractions and downtowns will be highlighted as well.
The Governor’s Tent is open daily during the fair.
For a complete listing of daily activities at the 2013 Illinois State Fair, “Our Illinois,” visit StateFair.illinois.gov or call (217) 782-6661. The fair runs from Aug. 8 – 18, 2013.