SPRINGFIELD – Governor Pat Quinn today was joined by families and officials from across the state to kick-off the 2014 Illinois State Fair. The annual 10-day agricultural celebration features a wide variety of family-friendly activities including food, racing, music and carnival rides. This year’s fair theme is “Making Memories.”
“The Illinois State Fair is a great place to make memories and have some good old-fashioned family fun,” Governor Quinn said. “Last year nearly one million people from around the world visited the fair to celebrate what Illinois’ capital city has to offer, and I hope we can top that mark this year.”
New features at this year’s fair include American Idol tryouts on August 8 and 9, a Civil War encampment and demonstrations and “Looking for Lincoln” activities on the fairgrounds. Returning favorites include harness and auto racing, Conservation World, carnival rides, hundreds of food selections and the world-famous Butter Cow.
This year’s Grandstand concert lineup includes Pitbull on August 9; Florida Georgia Line, August 10; Million Dollar Quartet, August 11; Boston, Sweet and April Wine on August 12; Hunter Hayes, August 13; Emblem 3, MKTO and Midnight Red on August 14; Steely Dan, August 15; Jake Owen, August 16; and Robin Thicke on August 17. The fair also offers a wide variety of free entertainment – from magic shows to musical acts – on 14 stages throughout the fairgrounds.
The state of Illinois has prepared the fairgrounds with more than $15 million in capital improvements over the last several years, including an extensive upgrade of the aging electrical distribution systems providing power to the various buildings and vendors at the fairgrounds. The most recent $4.1 million electrical upgrade project began in March and was completed late last month.
The Governor’s Tent theme this year is “A Portrait of Illinois,” featuring numerous ways the people of Illinois and the attractions we offer are depicted and remembered. Abraham Lincoln will be in the Governor’s Tent from 11 a.m. to noon each day for photographs with visitors. Two computers will be logged in to a family history research website so fairgoers can trace their family genealogy. Backdrops will allow children and families to “Picture Yourself in the Past,” and an assortment of related interactive games and puzzles will be offered. A different Illinois-filmed movie will play in the tent throughout each day of the fair. Illinois Main Street will be back, and they have invited local Illinois bands to play music outside the tent each day.
Last year the Illinois State Fair was attended by a total of 961,142 people, the fair's highest attendance since 2002, when an estimated 1.2 million people visited the fair. Last year’s State Fair saw an increase of 5 percent – or 42,707 visitors – from 2012. Fairgoers provide a significant boost to the local economy each year.
For a complete listing of daily activities at the 2014 Illinois State Fair, visit StateFair.Illinois.gov or call (217) 782-6661. The state fair runs from Aug. 7-17, 2014.